First dive and certification...things to keep in mind

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wetb4igetinthewater

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I tried Tonybee but I did not hear any distinct pops or clicks or my ears opening. I felt some release in my right ear but only if I kept at it repeatedly meaning minutes on end.
Have you seen an ENT? A few friends of mine have not found any method for equalization that works due to sinus issues, even minor ones. It does happen unfortunately.
 
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Samson

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Have you seen an ENT? A few friends of mine have not found any method for equalization that works due to sinus issues, even minor ones. It does happen unfortunately.
Have I seen an ENT after my class a few hours ago? No.

Prior to this class I've been to two ENTs and neither found anything wrong with my ears.
 

wetb4igetinthewater

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Have you seen an ENT? A few friends of mine have not found any method for equalization that works due to sinus issues, even minor ones. It does happen unfortunately.
Sorry, but got nothing to offer then, other than to go through all techniques and see if any of them will allow you to comfortably descend at a slow rate. Hopefully someone can provide more useful advice than this.
 
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Samson

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Sorry, but got nothing to offer then, other than to go through all techniques and see if any of them will allow you to comfortably descend at a slow rate. Hopefully someone can provide more useful advice than this.
I appreciate the feedback. Left ear has gotten slightly better but I'm getting random throbs of pain in either ear every several minutes and overall my head feels like I'm still underwater.
 

Robert H. Diver

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Like others have said, you need to study and try different techniques of equalizing. And not just when you’re diving….do it all day every day leading up to a dive. Give your ears a rest since you seem to have some pain right now before doing your pool sessions again. My wife had trouble equalizing when we started diving. She would get dizzy and be sick for days after. She found a different technique and now had zero problems equalizing and zero problems after diving.

 
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Samson

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Like others have said, you need to study and try different techniques of equalizing. And not just when you’re diving….do it all day every day leading up to a dive. Give your ears a rest since you seem to have some pain right now before doing your pool sessions again. My wife had trouble equalizing when we started diving. She would get dizzy and be sick for days after. She found a different technique and now had zero problems equalizing and zero problems after diving.

I definitely won't be diving for the next few weeks. I'll study up and become proficient in other equalization techniques in the meantime.

I'm hoping my symptoms subside and I don't get hit with dizzy spells.
 

Robert H. Diver

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I definitely won't be diving for the next few weeks. I'll study up and become proficient in other equalization techniques in the meantime.

I'm hoping my symptoms subside and I don't get hit with dizzy spells.

If you aren’t dizzy now you probably won’t be tomorrow…probably..
 

steinbil

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After many delays, I finally got this going and finished classroom.

I just returned from my confined dive class and unfortunately I had to cut it short. I just could not equalize. I didn't really feel a pressure gradient as I descended but what I did feel was pain. At a certain depth there was pain and the only thing that would remedy that was ascending.

I was using Valsalva the entire way down but I felt it did nothing for me at any depth. I did not see any change or release in any pressure/pain, no pops, clicks, ear opening, etc like I get when I move my jaw or yanw or swallow. I tried pinching my nose and swallowing but that only helped my right ear a little; I felt some air escaping very slowly with each swallow but it was taking a long time to have a meaningful effect and I was holding everyone up.

I also felt a lot of pain ascending as my ears opened up. These were dives to about 10ft and after a few of them I called it quits. I'm back home now and my ears open and pop and click just fine, although my left ear feels a bit stuffed. I hope I didn't cause any damage :(

Not sure how to proceed from here. I have to re-try the pool dive before going to the ocean dives but I'm not a fan of group lessons and didn't feel like the concepts where internalized on my part.
Sorry to hear you had a bad first experience in your Scuba class. With the short OW classes and big groups it seems like there isn't really that much time to deal with problems that might occur for individual divers, since there is a lot to cover. Did you have any congestion or problems with your sinuses going into the class? Some days equalizing can be more difficult than others...

I second the suggestion to look into other methods of equalizing and practicing in a pool, before you continue with your OW class. Get comfortable equalizing in the water and swimming down to 10ft on a breath hold first. Once you have that down, equalizing on Scuba should be easy. The first 10-15ft are usually the hardest (biggest pressure differential). You should feel the effects of equalizing, and you have to do it early and often. You want to equalize long before you feel any discomfort/pain. The fact that your ears also hurt on the way up might indicate some congestion or tight/blocked eustachian tubes, since usually as long as you go slowly, the ears equalize on their own while ascending. You probably didn't hurt your ears badly, as a ruptured ear drum usually is accompanied by a temporary pain relief and severe vertigo.

Also, it might be worth it to see if you could get a 1-on-1 class, instead of the group class. I did that for my OW cert and it was very helpful to get the most out of the class. Good luck!

PS.
I'm lucky enough to have eustachian tubes that usually equalize themselves, but I think it also think my background playing wind instruments and singing have also helped me. Muscle control is something that can be practiced/developed. I somehow found the muscles that open the tubes directly, but I can also open them by wiggling my ears or lowering the jaw – if I sing a long note while opening I can hear it resonate in my ears when the tubes are open. Still, if I'm a little congested, sometimes I use the frenzel technique or a soft valsalva if I can't open them directly.
 
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Samson

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@steinbil Thanks for chiming in. No congestion or sinus problems going into the class that I was aware. I could have tight/blocked eustachian tubes, who knows. I guess diving was the way to find out haha.

You definitely read my mind with respect to 1-on-1 training. There's no way I can go back to the group format; we flew through many concepts I definitely wanted to spend more time on, especially equalizing.

On land or when I fly, I usually just swallow or wiggle my jaw and my ears equalize with ease. My left ear takes a bit more effort but usually I can get it. But underwater was something else. I will definitely learn other equalizing techniques this should I choose the private training route.

My left ear cleared up today, thankfully, but it's itchy from time to time. I was also a bit groggy throughout the day, not sure if that had anything to do with the dives. I don't think I'll be exerting any pressure on my head for the next few days just to be safe (weightlifting for example).
 
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