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Author Topic: Ear problem  (Read 5907 times)

Offline _MikeM_

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Re: Ear problem
« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2015, 10:02:09 PM »
Hey Rob.

Thanks for taking the time to explain. I don't think I gonna hit those depths, but I have a better picture of equalizing now.

I have a lot of equalizing issues. But I did the first few years of scuba too. I think now that it's just a matter of intelligent repetition.

I've derailed this thread quite a bit, sorry DG, but this could use some elaboration. Clearing the ears doesn't need to be forceful. I use no force whatsoever. 

I may be mistaken, but here is how I see it. The pressure at depth compresses the lungs and that compressed air is equal to external pressure.  All you need to do is open the Eustachian tubes to equalize the ears. The various techniques simply open the tubes and allow your inner pressure/air volume to equalize. By forcing air into the esophagus using the Frenzel or Valsalva the air pressure forces it's way into the eustacian tubes. If you can "flex" or voluntarily open the eustacian tubes the ears will equalize naturally. Of course the Frenzel will over pressure the inner ear, you get a good popping and it feels like your ears are pressure free. IMO this is somewhat overdoing it and after time the ears will respond by getting harder to clear or it may even damage them if you push too hard and you can end up with a perforation or fluid in the middle ear. Using VTO or hands free, the ears aren't over pressured from within and they are truely equalized. You can still feel a slight bit of pressure on the ears, but they are under pressure and that is the way they should feel.

I recommend that everyone try to learn VTO. It is easier on the ears. It frees up your hand. It just feels more natural and relaxed.

I agree with all your equalization advice and I apologize for further derailing this thread but I wanted to clarify the mechanisms as I understand them. Pressure at depth does compress the lungs but that force is negligible compared to the force resulting from the change in volume as the external pressure increases (see previous explained equations), i.e. it's not the external pressure that's compressing air spaces, it's the air spaces constricting the cavities filled with air. As an analogy, the wings of an airplane. Physics tells us that the force that allows for flight is not from below "pushing" the plane up but instead, the force "pulls" the plane up. It's semantics but helpful in understanding the effects of pressure on the body. As eluded to prior, the effects of pressure exhibit the greatest force on gasses, i.e. air. All the air spaces on your body are subject to the same forces but react differently to changes in pressure. Your lungs expand and contract consistently, your ears and sinuses do not. The discomfort felt while descending is the result of these forces, equalization introduces air from your lungs to your sinuses/eustacian tubes, increasing the volume and releasing the "squeeze". When you fail to equalize these pressures you blow eardrums (thin membranes in the inner ear not capable of significant stretch). Not as applicable to free diving but scuba divers can run into trouble in the lungs (air embolism) when they fail to equalize the air in their lungs (primarily by holding your breath while diving).

Sorry for the long winded explanation and like Rob suggests, equalize early and often!
« Last Edit: August 28, 2015, 10:21:56 PM by _MikeM_ »

Offline DG

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Re: Ear problem
« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2015, 11:49:38 PM »
So just because I feel pressure I should not forcefully try to equalize as this is one reason why problems arise.  If it's just pressure but not painful then most likely I am equalized.

I keep trying to get the hands free down but haven't seemed to grasp it in shallower water but it seems to work over 30 ft.  I will keep working on it. 

Hopefully all this info you guys brought up will help others not have to go through what happened to me.  At this point I am sure I caused my own pain and hearing loss by not equalizing enough or using to much force when it was not needed. 


Offline Rob102

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Re: Ear problem
« Reply #32 on: August 29, 2015, 12:19:16 AM »
So just because I feel pressure I should not forcefully try to equalize as this is one reason why problems arise.  If it's just pressure but not painful then most likely I am equalized.

I keep trying to get the hands free down but haven't seemed to grasp it in shallower water but it seems to work over 30 ft.  I will keep working on it. 

Hopefully all this info you guys brought up will help others not have to go through what happened to me.  At this point I am sure I caused my own pain and hearing loss by not equalizing enough or using to much force when it was not needed.

It easier at depth because the volume decreases less with each increased atm. For instance, half of the volume is lost in the first 33'. You have to dive an additional 66' or an additional 2atm to see another 50% decrease in volume.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't Frenzel, I'm saying be careful not to to forcefully. You must equalize, however you can.

Like I said before, I perforated an eardrum at depth performing an overly forceful Frenzel because I wasn't used to the feeling of pressure at that depth. My daughter on the other hand, ruptured her ear drum at 10' by not equalizing and trying to swim through the pain.

Offline Abalonejoe

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Re: Ear problem
« Reply #33 on: August 29, 2015, 08:00:28 AM »
I've read that only 30% of people taught  VTO can actually perform it!!

Offline DG

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Re: Ear problem
« Reply #34 on: August 29, 2015, 04:09:21 PM »
I went out today to see if my ear was better and took it real slow.  It was good. 

Offline Nick F

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Re: Ear problem
« Reply #35 on: August 29, 2015, 08:32:26 PM »
I went out today to see if my ear was better and took it real slow.  It was good.

That's great news! Hopefully this was just a freak occurrence, for you.

I've read that only 30% of people taught  VTO can actually perform it!!

I suspect anyone who can reliably clear using another method can also learn to go hands free. It does take a lot of practice, though, both in and out of the water.

Offline Zpearo

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Re: Ear problem
« Reply #36 on: August 30, 2015, 05:19:04 PM »

I went out today to see if my ear was better and took it real slow.  It was good.

Glad to hear you're back on track Doug!

I've read that only 30% of people taught  VTO can actually perform it!!

I suspect anyone who can reliably clear using another method can also learn to go hands free. It does take a lot of practice, though, both in and out of the water.

Can you recommend a guide or video on learning to clear hands-free?

Offline Rob102

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Re: Ear problem
« Reply #37 on: August 30, 2015, 10:43:42 PM »

Can you recommend a guide or video on learning to clear hands-free?

I taught myself. 

Offline the_derek

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Re: Ear problem
« Reply #38 on: August 31, 2015, 08:57:22 AM »

Can you recommend a guide or video on learning to clear hands-free?

I taught myself.

Its really hard to teach it. I do think that most people can do it. But its knowing what it feels like to be able to.
Death is very often referred to as a good career move.

-Buddy Holly

Insta  @_the_derek_

Offline Nick F

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Re: Ear problem
« Reply #39 on: August 31, 2015, 09:38:35 AM »
Can you recommend a guide or video on learning to clear hands-free?

I read several descriptions about how to do it, but I didn't find any of them helpful. It's a tough thing to describe, which may be why it's not really taught. You kind of have to feel it out for yourself.

Try it out of the water first. Swallow or yawn (yawning may be more effective) and listen for that little click in your ears... that's the point where you're equalizing. Repeat that many times until you can get the click reliably, then slow it way down (this is why yawning might work better, because it's hard to swallow slowly). Yawn slowly and then pause right at the point when you hear the click. Pay attention to the position of your jaw and tongue and which muscles in your mouth, throat and neck are flexed. Then do it again and again until that feels pretty comfortable and reliable. Then try pausing at the point of equalization, relaxing, and then flexing again to voluntarily open your Eustachian tubes. That's essentially what you have to do underwater, is flex those muscles in exactly that manner. Once you've isolated the movement, you can practice. It's like any other exercise--the more reps you do, the more strength and control you'll develop. I do hundreds, maybe thousands of reps a day, every day. You can do it while you're doing just about anything else.

You may get to the point where you feel pretty confident in your ability to clear out of the water, but then find that it's not so reliable in the water. Keep at it, you'll just need to develop a little more strength in those muscles. Practice in the water if you can. I went to my local pool a few times a week and worked out my ears in the deep end. 12 feet of water is plenty for practicing.

Once you get comfortable, you can fine tune it. I do a combination VTO and frenzel (without pinching my nose) to simultaneously equalize my ears and mask. That's worked very well for me.

That was my process. It took me probably six months to get to a point where I could do it reliably. I hope this is helpful. Good luck!

Offline the_derek

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Re: Ear problem
« Reply #40 on: August 31, 2015, 01:09:07 PM »
Can you recommend a guide or video on learning to clear hands-free?

I read several descriptions about how to do it, but I didn't find any of them helpful. It's a tough thing to describe, which may be why it's not really taught. You kind of have to feel it out for yourself.

Try it out of the water first. Swallow or yawn (yawning may be more effective) and listen for that little click in your ears... that's the point where you're equalizing. Repeat that many times until you can get the click reliably, then slow it way down (this is why yawning might work better, because it's hard to swallow slowly). Yawn slowly and then pause right at the point when you hear the click. Pay attention to the position of your jaw and tongue and which muscles in your mouth, throat and neck are flexed. Then do it again and again until that feels pretty comfortable and reliable. Then try pausing at the point of equalization, relaxing, and then flexing again to voluntarily open your Eustachian tubes. That's essentially what you have to do underwater, is flex those muscles in exactly that manner. Once you've isolated the movement, you can practice. It's like any other exercise--the more reps you do, the more strength and control you'll develop. I do hundreds, maybe thousands of reps a day, every day. You can do it while you're doing just about anything else.

You may get to the point where you feel pretty confident in your ability to clear out of the water, but then find that it's not so reliable in the water. Keep at it, you'll just need to develop a little more strength in those muscles. Practice in the water if you can. I went to my local pool a few times a week and worked out my ears in the deep end. 12 feet of water is plenty for practicing.

Once you get comfortable, you can fine tune it. I do a combination VTO and frenzel (without pinching my nose) to simultaneously equalize my ears and mask. That's worked very well for me.

That was my process. It took me probably six months to get to a point where I could do it reliably. I hope this is helpful. Good luck!

Best description of this! Nice articulation Nicholas, cogent and concise!
Death is very often referred to as a good career move.

-Buddy Holly

Insta  @_the_derek_

 

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