Question Is it normal that I don't need to equalize?

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Barmaglot

Barmaglot

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I got certified about five years ago, and initially, I was equalizing like most everyone - pinch my nose and blow into it. However, at some point, during a liveaboard in the Philippines, I got congested after a few days of diving and found myself completely unable to equalize. Fortunately we were near Dumaguete and there were a couple other divers on board with ear problems, so we took a ride to a local hospital where a doctor saw me and prescribed some medicine - don't remember what it was. After another day, I was able to equalize again, albeit with significant difficulty - I was blowing into my nose with every little depth change, both up and down, and I could hear squeaking inside my head as air was getting forced from one cavity to another through barely-there openings. Fortunately, after a week or so, this cleared up completely, and ever since then, I found myself not needing to equalize at all anymore. I can drop like a rock from surface to thirty meters, or seesaw between twenty-five and five meters as I'm chasing down a photo subject, and all I feel is a tiny hint of pressure in my ears that immediately releases by itself with a barely audible puff. Am I just fortunate, or could this be an early sign of some other problem?
 

Robert H. Diver

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I got certified about five years ago, and initially, I was equalizing like most everyone - pinch my nose and blow into it. However, at some point, during a liveaboard in the Philippines, I got congested after a few days of diving and found myself completely unable to equalize. Fortunately we were near Dumaguete and there were a couple other divers on board with ear problems, so we took a ride to a local hospital where a doctor saw me and prescribed some medicine - don't remember what it was. After another day, I was able to equalize again, albeit with significant difficulty - I was blowing into my nose with every little depth change, both up and down, and I could hear squeaking inside my head as air was getting forced from one cavity to another through barely-there openings. Fortunately, after a week or so, this cleared up completely, and ever since then, I found myself not needing to equalize at all anymore. I can drop like a rock from surface to thirty meters, or seesaw between twenty-five and five meters as I'm chasing down a photo subject, and all I feel is a tiny hint of pressure in my ears that immediately releases by itself with a barely audible puff. Am I just fortunate, or could this be an early sign of some other problem?
Ah, the classic “acquiring super powers after a stressful event” type thing. LOL
 

BoltSnap

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If you shine a small dive light at one ear, can you see the light through the other ear on the opposite side?
 

Divin'Papaw

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A select few are lucky like you. You are certainly equalizing otherwise you would be in significant discomfort if not outright pain. I've heard of people like you who are able to equalize automatically on descent as all of us typically do on ascent. I would love that, but alas, do not have that gift.
 

Bob DBF

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Am I just fortunate, or could this be an early sign of some other problem?

Fortunate, but don't count on it. If I dive a lot my ears seem to equalize themselves, if I can't dive for a month or two, I have more of an issue equalizing until I get re-habituated. Equalizing is acquired trick.
 

OMyMyOHellYes

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As others have said, you're still clearing, just unconsciously.

My first couple of dives I was doing the nose-pinch all the way down as that was what we got showed in the OW course. Next 20 or so dives, I was clearing on descent at about 10 feet by pinching nose and then flexing the jaw afterwards when needed. After that, I have gotten to where I just unconsciously clear manipulating jaw - going up or down.

It may help muscle memory that I've been flying unpressurized aircraft for the last 35-ish years and having to occasionally clear through ascent/descent...

OMMOHY
 

Akimbo

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I have know a small number of divers that didn't need to use any equalizing technique (passive equalization) — which always made me jealous. Many times more could easily equalize with one of several hands-free methods, especially since freediving classes have become more available. I have never heard of passive equalization suddenly appearing until now. I hope it stays with you for life. Sign me up for the class if you figure out how to teach that bit of magic.

 
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