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How to Equalise Your Ears for Scuba Diving: Top Tips for a Pain-Free Descent - divecampus

How to Equalise Your Ears for Scuba Diving: Top Tips for a Pain-Free Descent

Ear equalisation is the key to a smooth descent and enjoyable dive. Check out these essential tips and tricks to master the art of equalisation. Have more tips, tell us in comments! 


Try equalising while you're still at the surface or the boat a few times. This can help ensure your ears are ready for the pressure change.

Next equalise immediately as you start your descend, and continue every time there is a light squeeze as you descend. The key here is don’t let a light squeeze turn to a hard one or worse pain, if so ascend slowly wait, breathe and if not cleared, try again.


A common mistake we see amongst new divers is they fill the air in their mouth (like when you try blowing a balloon) and pinch the nose. Instead try gently blowing out from your nose while you seal the nostrils. The trick is gentle and slow inflation of the nose while pinching it until it equalizes both ears. If you managed to equalise only one ear, don’t push further. Just breathe and try again gently.


Most common reasons for equalisation issues is not medical but slow, controlled descend and good depth management through your buoyancy. Imagine going down too fast and having a slight squeeze and now as you get busy equalising, you are unable to manage your depth and still descending - OUCH!

Without having a good buoyancy and control on your descend it is difficult to master equalisation. If you wish to learn this, then PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Speciality or even our Advance Buoyancy Workshop is perfect for you. 


When struggling with one ear or slow equalisation try these methods:

  • Tilt your head to stretch the side which is not equalising, this helps open up the Eustachian tubes and make equalisation easier.
  • Try descend vertically, this keeps the head straight and equalizing easy
  • Try moving your jaw left and right or down (mimic yawning movement).

If nothing worked, communicate with your buddy to end the dive - better to be safe than sorry.


Some studies show dehydration makes equalization more difficult. Make sure you drink enough water even better if with electrolytes to get you the hydration you need.


Experts say few drops of ‘virgin’ & ‘organic’ coconut or almond oil not only helps create a barrier from salt water and any particles that can cause infection but also helps moisturising the ear which makes equalising easier.

After each dive follow up with washing with fresh water. Some even use water mixed with small portion of vinegar to help break any salt residue.


If you have persistent equalisation problems, consider seeking guidance from an ENT even better if he is a diver himself. We know a few in UAE who we swear by, if you want to know details feel free to reach out to us :)



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