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Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Jason Jezik, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. Jason Jezik

    Jason Jezik Angel Fish

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Bixby, OK
    Hello SCUBA community. I have a huge favor to ask. My son is going thru Navy Seal training in Coronado, CA.

    Yesterday the students were put into a pressure chamber that simulates a 60 foot dive. My son could NOT clear his ears and had to tap out. He gets one more chance on Monday. Failure is not an option as he will be dropped from the course.

    He has successfully completed HELL WEEK and is well on his way to becoming US Navy SEAL. We must overcome this obstacle!

    What can be done to clear his ears despite the obvious gum chewing, holding nose and blowing, etc....? I have read this is a common challenge for divers and wanted to reach out to get feedback from the strongest divers in the nation. I need to provide my son some help!

    Any suggestions are GREATLY appreciated. Thank you! Please help if you can! Thank you in advance!

  2. Newdiv

    Newdiv Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ohio
    Take mucinex or a similar decongestant an hour or two prior, it helps loosen the ear canals. Use the one behind the counter.
    Jason Jezik likes this.
  3. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA
    Has your son dived before? Equalizing the pressure is the first skill you learn. It helps to begin equalizing before the class, including the moment you wake up, on your way to the school and before the pressure begins. Don't wait until you feel the pressure. That makes it more difficult to clear.
  4. ORsolodiver

    ORsolodiver Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oregon
    A nasal decongestant such as pseudoephedrine could potentially help. There can be a concern for the ears to be blocked again as the medication wears off but if these simulated dives aren't too long it shouldn't be a problem. Take it about 45 min to an hour before getting in the chamber. Best of luck to your son.
    eleniel, Bigbella, Hoyden and 2 others like this.
  5. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid idling in neutral buoyancy

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    There are a few very well known techniques, which I have to believe the Navy Seal instructors have shown him.
  6. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
  7. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kents Store, VA
    And, make sure it is pseudoephedrine, NOT phenylephrine (sometimes marketed as Sudafed PE). He should take it starting the day / the night before the exercise, and again within the hour before the strat.

    It would truly be a shame for someone to make it through hell Week, and fail because of ear clearing issues.
  8. JackD342

    JackD342 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Highland Park, IL
    If congestion is the hang-up on equalizing, (which is NOT necessarily the case), then the concern about a decongestant wearing off at depth is significant - not just a minor concern. A reverse block at pressure can do some damage when ascending, whether ascent is simulated or real.

    If choosing to use a decongestant anyway, then be sure it is a long acting formulation. There are house brands also available, but the brand name for pseudoephedrine in the US is Sudafed Sinus. (Do NOT get Sudafed PE.)
    That comes in:
    30mg (2) 4-6 hours
    120mg (1) 12 hour
    240mg (1) 24 hour

    Choose one of the last two.

    But, if congestion is not the issue, do not expect a decongestant to be a magic bullet. Some folks just take more time to develop the technique. And unfortunately, there are also some would be divers that are never able to easily equalize.
    chillyinCanada and Jason Jezik like this.
  9. formernuke

    formernuke Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New England
    I'm going to also recommend start before going in the chamber and very frequently during.
  10. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

    Folks fail out of or are eliminated from BUD/S for all sorts of reasons some less significant than not being able to clear one's ears. There is no shame to fail out, especially if it is physically/medically related...it is only a shame if one quits at a point they did not truly hit their limit.

    There is a reason the training is intense...it weeds out those who should not be there for whatever reason.

    rjack321, Hoag, cerich and 3 others like this.

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