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My first dive, what went wrong with my ears?

1DeadBait1DeadBait Posts: 106 Officer
On saturday I did 2 beach dives to practice skills to get certified, Everything was fine, but sunday I went off a dive boat and did 2 dives in 60 feet of water, on both dives I had a lot of trouble clearing my ears and had to descend a few fett, swim till the pain eased and then swim further down, I could not ease the pain before the pain got to me. On the ascend up I had the same problem, everytime I changed depth by a few feet I experienced unbarrable pain in my ears for about 30 seconds or so. Now It's been about 3 hours and my ears do not hurt, but they are like clogged, everything I hear echos, i tried vinigear and alcohol blend dropped into my ear but it didn't do anything. Any suggestiuons on how to make my ears better and prevent this from happening?
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"Luck has nothing to do with it".
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Replies

  • SpineymanSpineyman Destin, FlPosts: 8,347 Admiral
    Once you had pain it makes it tough to equalize properly. Next time start equalizing sooner and more often. Start immediately and you should be fine.
    Kayak Rookie...and loving it.
    Fishing beautiful Destin / Ft Walton Beach area!

    II Chronicles 7:14
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  • Capt_GerryCapt_Gerry Posts: 173 Officer
    This is not a simple question to answer especially when having to type and has been discussed in great lenghts on the scuba boards. This is one of the most common problems went I teach. Sometime its due to a cold, allergies, a physical condition or just that you descended to fast and the inner ear was not able to equalize to the surrounding pressure. In the future until you know exactly how your body is going to handle this I would take these steps:

    See a dive physician and get checked out just to make sure your eustachian tubes didn't suffer from or in the future will suffer from barotrauma. Once you get the green light make sure your able to clear your ears prior to the dive such as when your putting your gear together. As you are descending clear your ears as you go not after the pain. If you feel pain go up until it stops, clear and then slowly descend again. This may take several times until your able to fully dive. This could and will be an issue on a drift dive when getting below is paramount.

    There are some and I'll admit I'm one of them that use Affrin or a over the counter decongestant such as Sudafed prior to diving to "open you up." The use of these helps me but is argued more than which came first the chicken or the egg. Some say Affrin wears off at dept to quickly, has a rebound phenomena, causes a reverse block, and dries out your ENT more than what you would want. I have never had these issues but we are all different.

    Sudafed lasts much longer and is generally accepted but there are always a few who say if you need these products you probably shouldn't be diving. One friend of mine had this issue really bad and found that using a full face mask solved this issue because he was able to breath using his nose.

    With out going really technical and putting you to sleep I would definitely get checked out first. If you have a cold/allergies get this under control. Descend very slow until this clears up and ascent if you feel any pain. You can tilt you ear(s) towards the surface and wiggle your jaw back and forth to assist you clearing. Chances are in time this will pass just be careful in the mean time. If you are going to use as any medication be aware there are issues caused by diving. Do your research and check with a knowledgable diving physician. If you have any question don't hesitate to ask
    Changin' Latitudes
  • 1DeadBait1DeadBait Posts: 106 Officer
    Well thanks to both of you, on both dives i did try equalizing as soon as i wnet down, before there was any pain.
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    "Luck has nothing to do with it".
  • 1DeadBait1DeadBait Posts: 106 Officer
    Update: My ears feel the same but my head just a few hours ago began feeling like its under pressure. Should I see a doctor about this?
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    "Luck has nothing to do with it".
  • Capt_GerryCapt_Gerry Posts: 173 Officer
    Yes, don't risk injury.
    Changin' Latitudes
  • dickiedickie Posts: 7 Greenhorn
    Are you congested? If you had any(even a little) sinus pressure before the dive, it would explain the problem with clearing, as Capt_Gerry also stated.
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,678 Captain
    That's great advice from Capt_Gerry.

    I have chronic sinusitis and I need to use both Afrin and Sudafed when I dive. I dose up an hour before hitting the water in order to give the drugs time to work. I still need to descend feet first and need to ascend a few feet several times in order to clear on the way down.

    I find that the Sudafed wears off before the Afrin. I often take 2 more Sudafed before a second or third dive. Afrin and Sudafed do different things. The Afrin will open up your Eustachian tubes and nasal passages while the Sudafed allows your sinus cavities to drain and therefore equalize. When you can't clear your ears, you need Afrin. If you get a stabbing pain in your sinuses, you need Sudafed.

    Some folks (like me) need to use more than 3 squirts of Afrin to open up the Eustachian tubes. I have found that the effects of Afrin will last for several dives as long as I keep well hydrated. If I keep drink fluids, I don't get the reverse block problem on long dives.

    The only problem with forced hydration is that both Sudafed and Afrin make it difficult for some people to pee.:rolleyes:

    There is a bug going around in Florida these days that causes sinus congestion and post nasal drip. It lasts a couple of weeks. It's possible that is what is causing your problems.
  • Capt.GeneCapt.Gene Posts: 4 Greenhorn
    Take sudafed 12 hour unless congtradicted by medical conditions.
    Chew gum, working the eu tubes will bring quicker relief.
  • Sauce340Sauce340 Posts: 22 Greenhorn
    I have had problems clearing my ears my whole life, I can not free dive at all, not even 10 feet. Normally I take a sudafed before leaving the house, and a shot of affrin on the way out the inlet. I also add more weight and descend feet first, constantly clearing. The more I dive the easier it gets, but if I try to force it things only get worse, and it ends up making it almost impossible to clear. I just hover over everyone else untill I can get down. Feet first really helps me, actually its more like a skydiver position with my head above my body. Normaly everyone is 20 feet off the bottom to get more time on the computer so I carry the ball and let the grapple dangle just above the bottom and when i see lobster I lower the hook to hook a ledge and hold on while I work my way down, off palm Beach in a heavy current.
  • GT FishGT Fish Posts: 9,448 Officer
    I ended up with tinitus(ringing in the ear for LIFE) If you cannot clear don't DIVE! It drove me nuts for about 3 months.I have since dealt with it, i don't dive past 15 ft anymore for fear i will get it in my other ear. This was 12yrs ago and ringing is still there! :(
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  • Skirt Chasin'Skirt Chasin' Posts: 3 Greenhorn
    Flex your jaw open repetively, like your trying to touch your chin to chest. Remember-Clear Early & Often. As soon as your wet & constantly,all the way down. u meet any resistance, ascend a few feet & try to clear then slowly descend-clearing constantly!!!!! One very important rule.........if for ANY reason your not comfortable with a dive ABORT the dive. Take this seriously.I've been diving many years & not long ago went with a friend on a check out dive @ Blue Grotto ( Ocala ) I couldn't equalize and everyone enjoyed themselves while i was stuck @ 11' !!! sux-but happens. As far as the "echo" it will go away. Next dive, after entry,turn your head left to right ( filling ears ) plug nose & try to "blow" through nose. Remember-early & often. Good luck on ckout, try to just HAVE FUN !! Ken S. Capt. SKIRT CHASIN'
  • 1DeadBait1DeadBait Posts: 106 Officer
    Thank all you guys. I have not since made a dive, but I plan on going next weekend with my dad. When I did the dive's I was talking about It helped a lot for me to go down at an angle, where I was almost verticle but facing down only a tiny bit and just swim slowly downward. Weird that all you guys said you find it betetr to go feet first. :huh
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    "Luck has nothing to do with it".
  • saltwateronlysaltwateronly Posts: 4 Greenhorn
    You need to learn different ways of clearing your ears and get really good at it. I'm relatively new to diving too and it was tough to clear at first. Clear your ears before you go in the water to make sure there's no problems. The problem for me was once I felt my ears pop i stopped clearing and went down some more and tried to cleared again. Which is wrong, once they pop keep blowing to force more air in the tubes till it is filled all the way then head down, also you should clear all over again with each new breath from the reg. I recommend that you watch this video, use the method where you pinch your nose and add air by hammering your adam's apple up and down which inflates your nostrils and uses your throat muscles which are attached to your tubes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw9UNcp9lxM
  • snookpigsnookpig Posts: 34 Greenhorn
    Im a MD and I never understood the negative comments in dive training about use of Afrin. I think there is a very wide difference in divers reguarding ease of clearing. If your instructor doesent have this prob. they may gloss over it. Afrin ALWAYS ,feet first ,and clear each breath. If you feel squeeze go back up and start over. If I have a cold I dont even think about it. good luck
  • Capt_GerryCapt_Gerry Posts: 173 Officer
    snookpig wrote: »
    Im a MD and I never understood the negative comments in dive training about use of Afrin. I think there is a very wide difference in divers reguarding ease of clearing. If your instructor doesent have this prob. they may gloss over it. Afrin ALWAYS ,feet first ,and clear each breath. If you feel squeeze go back up and start over. If I have a cold I dont even think about it. good luck

    I think most people negatively speak of Afrin because of Rhinitis Medica Mentosum however, this condition is brought on by repeated days of using sprays. Like most people I use Afrin only when I'm diving and have a slight amount of congestion but not enough to abort the dive. Since I don't dive every day and definitely don't use Afrin on every dive I don't see an issue. Just be careful mixing this with Sudafed because pseudoephedrine can increase you risk of decompression injury especially when diving with Nitrox.
    Changin' Latitudes
  • Plane Fish nPlane Fish n Posts: 6,439 Admiral
    Capt_Gerry wrote: »
    This is not a simple question to answer especially when having to type and has been discussed in great lenghts on the scuba boards. This is one of the most common problems went I teach. Sometime its due to a cold, allergies, a physical condition or just that you descended to fast and the inner ear was not able to equalize to the surrounding pressure. In the future until you know exactly how your body is going to handle this I would take these steps:

    See a dive physician and get checked out just to make sure your eustachian tubes didn't suffer from or in the future will suffer from barotrauma. Once you get the green light make sure your able to clear your ears prior to the dive such as when your putting your gear together. As you are descending clear your ears as you go not after the pain. If you feel pain go up until it stops, clear and then slowly descend again. This may take several times until your able to fully dive. This could and will be an issue on a drift dive when getting below is paramount.

    There are some and I'll admit I'm one of them that use Affrin or a over the counter decongestant such as Sudafed prior to diving to "open you up." The use of these helps me but is argued more than which came first the chicken or the egg. Some say Affrin wears off at dept to quickly, has a rebound phenomena, causes a reverse block, and dries out your ENT more than what you would want. I have never had these issues but we are all different.

    Sudafed lasts much longer and is generally accepted but there are always a few who say if you need these products you probably shouldn't be diving. One friend of mine had this issue really bad and found that using a full face mask solved this issue because he was able to breath using his nose.

    With out going really technical and putting you to sleep I would definitely get checked out first. If you have a cold/allergies get this under control. Descend very slow until this clears up and ascent if you feel any pain. You can tilt you ear(s) towards the surface and wiggle your jaw back and forth to assist you clearing. Chances are in time this will pass just be careful in the mean time. If you are going to use as any medication be aware there are issues caused by diving. Do your research and check with a knowledgable diving physician. If you have any question don't hesitate to ask

    Jerry... Excellent post and great advice!

    I was certified in 1971 by Richard (tried his real first name but it put xxxx there) Rutkowski who was an excellent instructor and went on to be considered the father of recompression chamber medicine.

    In college (yeah.. when George Washington was president.. ), I was a NAUI, PADI and NASDS scuba instructor with a large dive shop in Miami.

    At times, I had to use Afrin or Sudafed and had no issues whatsoever.

    I remember in 1974 I was in Micronesia and we were making 4 dives a day (yes, on air) in Truk, Palau, Tinian, Saipan, Guam, Ponape, etc. We always paid close attention to the tables and alternated our deeper dives with our shallower dives.

    Sudafed became my friend as my tubes became inflamed and at times was difficult to clear.

    Oh by the way, in those days we used a newly introduced device called a "decompression meter" made by SOS for Scubapro. :Spittingcoffee

    I found the tables to be more conservative so that is what I used.

    1DeadBait... good luck with your ear issue and don't push your limits.

    Cheers.. say hello to Fishing Buddies and Sea Monkey.

    Eric
    PLANE FISH N
  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,477 Officer
    I have been scuba diving since 1961 when I was 15 and bought some gear and taught myself and still dive. I'm not an instructor but ALL the advice from Capt. Gerry is right on target. In my later diving years I have been forced to use Affrin etc., especially for my second tank. I once experienced a reverse block like he describes when the Affrin wore off during the end of a shallow dive. Luckily my dive partner was able to go up and bring me down some more Affrin, (and a second tank), so I could relieve the block. Since that experience I never dive without a bottle of Affrin in my BC that is firmly attached to the gear. BTW my first wife was certerfied by **** RutKowski. (D**K like in Richard)
    Giimoozaabi
  • Full ThrottleFull Throttle Posts: 151 Deckhand
    Hey Capt. Gary, i was interested in how does the sudafed increase your rish with decompression injury when diving with Nitrox. I am a new diver and also have ear issues, i use sudafed and also afrin, and i dive with nitrox lol, so your comment caught my eyes. If im usuing afrin do i really need the sudafed?? I also have been using the Docs divers ear plugs and that seems to help as well. Thank u for your info
  • Capt_GerryCapt_Gerry Posts: 173 Officer
    Hey Capt. Gary, i was interested in how does the sudafed increase your rish with decompression injury when diving with Nitrox. I am a new diver and also have ear issues, i use sudafed and also afrin, and i dive with nitrox lol, so your comment caught my eyes. If im usuing afrin do i really need the sudafed?? I also have been using the Docs divers ear plugs and that seems to help as well. Thank u for your info

    Sudafed is a mild central nervous system stimulant. Increasing the partial pressure of oxygen is also a CNS stimulant.There is some concern that the effects of two CNS stimulants might cause a nitrox diver to seize at depth. A high PO2 is toxic and can cause seizures.

    Read this link from DAN that further explains the relationship with Sudafed while diving with nitrox and the PO2 exceeds or can exceed 1.4 ata. If your on air, healthy and not using this drug daily then taking sudafed should not be an issue.

    http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/article.asp?articleid=51
    Changin' Latitudes
  • Capt_GerryCapt_Gerry Posts: 173 Officer
    If im usuing afrin do i really need the sudafed??

    Sorry, I forgot to respond to your other question. It depends on what you are taking the medications for and which version of Sudafed your taking IE pill or nasal spray. Different versions are either over the counter or behind due to the different active ingredients. It is my understanding that they each effect different parts of the body such as the sinuses or eustachian tube which is why some people choose to take both.
    Changin' Latitudes
  • Full ThrottleFull Throttle Posts: 151 Deckhand
    Thanks Capt, i never knew that, i believe i will not be taking sudafed anymore lol, will stick to afrin and my divers ear plugs
  • 1DeadBait1DeadBait Posts: 106 Officer
    Thanks to all of you. I suspect that I had some blockage in my ears on that day of dving because yesturday I made my first dive since. I went off the beach in 25 feet of water didnt see much except for one spanish dancer, but my ears were fine as I equalized as you guys told me.
    slot3-1.jpg

    "Luck has nothing to do with it".
  • TIBURCIO97TIBURCIO97 Posts: 10 Deckhand
    Hey, buddy, I've been freediving and scuba for sometime,and understanding the process help me to never have problems equalizing, there is a simple test that you must do in order to know how easy it will be for you to equalize in water. Get into a quiet room and Just swallow (even with nothing inside your mouth) you should hear your ears pop (the eustachian tubes opening and closing) the air trap inside your mouth triggers the tubes for bleeding out the air in your mouth, the tongue is pushing the air (positive pressure)everybody does this but we r not conscious of it.
    If you cannot hear your ears pop when you swallow then you are within the 5% of people that have the eustachian tubes restricted by sinus problem etc. ReMember....those tubes bleed air thats all, your ear start to hurt when that bubble of air inside the inner ear is putting pressure on the ear drum membrane causing pain ,that bubble is not going anywhereand it would tear the lining of the membrane, thats why the only solution is to bring press. from the other side of the sinus cavity, then you blow pinching your nose trying to force open the tubes and let that bubble "equalize" .

    Professional Freedivers must learn to equalize without blowing, (blowing waste to much oxigen)there are many techniques.
    THe point is you can practice opening the tubes without being in the water . Some people can hears the ears pop just opening their jaws with mouth closed,like yawning with mouth closed. Once that you find your personal technique you would never have problems equalizing, when entering in the water...dont wait till you feel press. to start equalizing, as soon as your head is below 3' in the water start and repeat when u start feeling press. again, everybody is different you need to know your own body.

    David
  • spearmaster53spearmaster53 Posts: 28 Greenhorn
    ya i just got certifyed the 1st of june u should equelize more often like every 2 to 4 feet it makes it much easier and lesss painful and just mess around with it and find whats best for u
  • BadHabitBadHabit Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    I see you and Shoeless out often. In the day “1970s” I depended on Dristan. Not available now, [email protected] meth heads. It never let me down. When my kids were grown and I started diving again, the Walgreen’s people looked at me as if I was a nut when I ask what happed to Dristan. Did you get any bugs?
    Note: The sailfish was caught by an actual fisherman, not me. http://www.StevenGann.com
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  • 1DeadBait1DeadBait Posts: 106 Officer
    Thanks to all of you guys, I will keep in mind all of your knowlege, experiences and opinoins as I begin my new hobby of diving.

    @bad habbit. Yes, I got 5.
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    "Luck has nothing to do with it".
  • RootbeerRootbeer Posts: 128 Officer
    I read your other post about you passing out while diving and now this post about your ears... Please be careful! If you force yourself to dive with that pain things can seriously go wrong... the pain will only get worse if you push it and what happens to people who don't listen to their body signs have actually popped their ears with blood coming out of their nose and ears.... I know professionals who have done this because they pushed it too much... You must go up and not continue to dive down if the pain is there... Again, I really believe you should research this sport of tank diving and take classes and be aware of the dangers of this sport and if you freedive too you should seriously research and take classes from a certified approved place... Its a beautiful hobby but there is a lot that you must be aware of because I've heard of many different types of deaths or injurys....

    You didn't know about the blackouts and passing out problem you had and you didn't know about equilizing problems so I'm guessing you have not taken any type of classes and I saw from your pics that you use tanks... I know there are a lot of people who use their parents tanks because their parents may be certified but seriously this is so dangerous because in order to dive you need to know the safety rules and how to properly use your equipment and all the pros and cons of the sport.... Classes will teach you about equilzing and what to do if you get into a problem when diving and they also will teach you about blackouts and things like that... All which you seriously need to know and you also need to know what type of gear you should be carrying and using....

    Please take action on this because I always read in spearboard about the young people who are inexperienced and die every year....
  • RootbeerRootbeer Posts: 128 Officer
    I hope you don't think I'm being overly hard on you and maybe you have gotten certified but it doesn't look like they taught you much though if you did sorry to say... But from your pics you look young and I just really want to stress the point that you really need to research into this sport before something dangerous happens to you God forbid... You passing out and you not being able to hear to good means you pushed it in your diving and this is dangerous... Because as soon as the pain starts in your head or tempels or ears or even teeth or cheek or eyes you should never push it beacause you can really injure yourself and pop your ears and then you would need surgery... This is all caused by you not being able to equalize properly and the pressure builds up.... I have a professional freediving/spearfisher friend who worked with the persistent team who did this and was diving in 90 feet of water with his boss the world record freediver Pepin and even though this guy felt the pain he stayed down and ignored the pain and boom blood started coming out from his ears and nose and had to get major surgery work done!!! Don't let this be you.... Your other post about passing out and you just kept diving while dizzy was not a smart move...

    You know how many young folks have died from doing that? I have not taken any certified classes because I didn't have the money but I researched like crazy the freediving and spearfishing sport... Now if I was ever to do tank diving I for sure would get certified and take the classes... I know people who don't do this and I think thats crazy and dangerous.... As for for freediving like I said I researched the sport and talked alot with different professionals and learned but I take it easy and I don't push it... I am about to take a class soon and improve my dives... But I seriously recommend that you take all these warning signs that your body is giving you and learn more about your new hobby and seriously take it easy because no lobster or fish is worth dying over...
  • 1DeadBait1DeadBait Posts: 106 Officer
    Well this dive here was the dive with my instructor in order to get certified and he was the one who helped me get down slowly and equalize the whole way down and I ended up being fine after a little bit of working together. And now 2months later I think what happened was me going up and down too much caused some nitrogen build up
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    "Luck has nothing to do with it".
  • RootbeerRootbeer Posts: 128 Officer
    1DeadBait wrote: »
    Well this dive here was the dive with my instructor in order to get certified and he was the one who helped me get down slowly and equalize the whole way down and I ended up being fine after a little bit of working together. And now 2months later I think what happened was me going up and down too much caused some nitrogen build up

    So, your first dive that you blacked out in the water was in 25 feet with tanks with your friend and you over did it going up and down too much and thats why you believe you passed out in the water and then you regained conciousness....

    and this recent dive is with an instructor which was deeper in 60 feet with tanks and you are asking others on Florida Sportsman about what is the ear problems you are having...

    I know that people are giving you advice here about sudafed and explaining about equalizing because the syptoms you probably are feeling has to do with how your ears probably didn't equalize properly but I truly believe that your dive instructor should have explained all of these things and the problems that can occur with your ears if you over due it.... You should explain this to your instructor that you are not able to hear to good and there is an echo... Because if you pay an instructor for classes that can range to $300 and even to $800 and I just would figure they should cover these things about Equalization and the problems that can occur with your ears and a bunch of other important safety procedures before diving...

    Take Lobsterbabes advice and see a doctor just to be on the safe side.... I hope you will seriously practice safer dives so you don't blackout ever again God forbid and like I said before - be very carful and take it easy and listen to your body when it throws you signs and don't push it because you are so young..... Safe dives to you!
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