View Full Version : New to diving, clearing your ears?

11-15-2014, 11:34 PM
So my dad is a master diver and my sister is certified. I'm more of the free diver type but I would love to be able to spend a longer amount of time underwater and my dad is thrilled that we could finally have something to do together the only thing is I'm concerned about my ears really hurting. I know you clear your ears when you go down but how often do you clear them? Every couple of feet? And when you reach depth do you have to keep clearing them? Also I live in Connecticut so the water I would be diving in would be kind of dark and murky and I'm scared, how do I get over this?

The crash of waves and salty air are the signs of freedom

Mermaid Jaffa
11-16-2014, 12:15 AM
There are these which I posted in another thread. But I don't do diving of any sort, so I don't know if they are any good. Only read about them on the scuba board forum.

11-16-2014, 02:24 AM
You should only have to clear your ears when you change depth, MermaidIndie, not when you're at a steady depth.

Have you had any ear clearing issues before?

Anyhow, I tend to clear my ears every 10 feet or so going down. Other people do it more frequently, some people can go longer distances before they equalize. A few favoured souls even seem to be able to go 30 between equalizations.

11-16-2014, 03:36 AM
The earlier you start clearing your ears the easier it is. Start it way before they start to hurt, because it will be quite hard if you wait until then. Try to start at about 3ft (1m, if I'm not completely off ;)), and continue every few feet during your descent. As Aptamer said, you only need to equalize when changing depth. And during the ascent, the ears will usually equalize themselves, so you just have to do it on the descent.

To overcome the dark and murky water, maybe it helps if you and your buddy (never dive without one ;)) take done underwater flashlights with you, if you have some? Otherwise look for a lake that's less dark and murky (sounds a little silly, I know). Most of the lakes change their visibility throughout the year. Just look around, and maybe ask your dad or other divers for better vis lakes.

And above all, be relaxed and have fun!
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11-16-2014, 03:39 AM
For me, it's the initial descent where you really have to be aware and clear frequently - the scuba world says to equalize "early and often" for the best results! You just pinch and blow (or another method, but that's the easiest for me!) as you gradually descend and if you feel any pain at all you stop or ascend a few feet until you're equalized. Then as you're diving if you change depths and go any deeper you'll need to do it again but it only takes a second. The cool thing is that you don't have to clear to rise up, only to descend. If you can clear your ears on an airplane, you can do it while diving! I think it's harder to clear freediving because you end up having to blow some of the air that you're holding onto when you clear your ears, so for me at least, this is tougher to manage. But when diving you always have another breath right there so blowing to clear isn't a concern.

11-16-2014, 05:21 PM
Thanks! This really helped, I can't wait to start!

The crash of waves and salty air are the signs of freedom

11-16-2014, 05:33 PM
Oh and I saw you posted about New England waters! I dive mainly out of Cape Ann outside Boston. For your first time, try to go when the visibility is good, 20 feet is nice in New England waters. You may not be able to control this for your certification dives.

After a heavy rain or storm the visibility can get pretty low so the best time to go is after a few calm days with low wind and no rain. A local dive shop can help steer you to good visibility sites for the day you want to go. I know my dive shop (Undersea Divers in Beverly , MA if you're up this way!) will tell people which sites are best each day when you go in to get air.

For light: Take an underwater flashlight with you to help cut down on the anxiety about visibility. Also, the closer you are to the surface the more light you'll have!

To maximize light: Try to be done at least an hour before sunset so it doesn't get too dark from the shadows. It won't be DARK or anything, just not optimal if you really want bright light to curb the anxiety.

If you haven't bought a mask yet, I'd recommend getting a mask with a black skirt (rather than clear) because this helps focus light better so you can see better in darker water. It made a big difference for me when I switched!