Reverse Block

SwiftorSwiftor Posts: 68 Greenhorn
Hello diving community, I live in the Bahamas and have started to get out of my comfort zone from spearing lobster in shallow water to shooting hogfish and grouper in deeper water, as you may know in the Bahamas you can only freedive, I did my personal best dive at 30ft, and had to go all the way to the bottom to grab my shaft from my hawaiian sling. As I was going to get the shaft, i was clearing my nose, and doing the stuff you are supposed to do, but as i got about 2-3 feet from the bottom, my left ear, sounded like air was slowly coming out of a basketball. When i resurfaced, I could barley hear out of my left ear, and it hurt but not to bad, its now been about 4 hours since that, and i still can't hear that well out of my ear. I also had a bloody nose afterward, but thats happened before, I was talking to someone, and they told me I had a reverse block, and that its caused by allergies, the problem is though I don't have allergies. Can someone please give me some info?? I need to be able to listen to my teachers in school!!!!
Just a young buck:USA


  • smooth movesmooth move Posts: 403 Deckhand
    i've done the same. it caused a sinus infection with me. actually had saltwater in my sinus. going down in a chamber cleared up the hearing thing, but i ended up having to come off the job because of the infection.
    le se' bon ton roulet
  • riverdiverriverdiver Posts: 2,011 Captain

    Had it happen a couple of times scuba diving, taking some Claritin or Sudafed an hour or so before diving helped me tremendously.

    Had it happen diving in Italy, worst case of it I'd ever had. Was trying to come up from about 110 feet, had a heck of a time trying to clear my ears on the way up.

  • FletchFletch Merritt Island, FLPosts: 2,351 Moderator
    Clear early and often on descent. If you have to force an equalization of an ear (I call it the squeak), you will likely have trouble with that ear for the remainder of the day. From the surface to 33ft is where the pressure changes the greatest per foot of depth. This is where early and frequent equalization is most important.

    I typically avoid nasal inhalers such as Afrin but have found they really help when needed. I even had a friend tell me a doctor advised putting a drop or two in each ear and giving it a few minutes to absorb. I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THAT as I am as far from a doctor as they come but I can tell you I have tried it and it seemed to work.
    "Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women and Irish whiskey. The other ten percent, I'll probably waste..."
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  • ReelHazardReelHazard Posts: 116 Deckhand
    I agree with Fletch...start equalizing from the very beginning of the dive, even 5ft into your descent. It used to happen to me when I started diving, it's called barotrauma to the ear. I noticed that when I started to equalize early into my descent, and very often as opposed of waiting for the ear pain to start before I'd equalize, the chances of barotrauma or even a slight pain on my ears, will be almost none if I did that. Good luck
  • HuntnfeeshHuntnfeesh Posts: 240 Deckhand
    Best way to avoid reverse block is don't freedive congested...

    I've had a couple in 30 years of freediving and sometimes the pain is nauseating and comparable to migraine. Best relief I've found is to rehydrate really well with oral clear fluids and take the max dose of actual pseudoephedrine. Follow this with a steamy hot shower and maybe even a neti pot saline flush of the nasal passages. And let time pass. Anti inflammatory such as Advil help weigh the pain and stop irritated tissue from swelling and increasing the trapped pressure effect.

    The following is my anecdotal experience and is no way medical or professional advice.  The only way  I've found to immediately reverse the effects has been to put on a tank and return to the depth the block occurred at and ascend slowly clearing as you go, the pain relieves once you equalize the pressure and I've been successful in this technique 1 time for myself and once for a dive buddy.  I would recommend a 2nd diver accompany you, and certainly don't go deeper than you've been freediving. 
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