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Ear care in recreational diving: 8 tips

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Everything you need to know to keep your ears healthy and safe underwater

Enjoying a day of diving

Hello Tribe! On this occasion, I want to talk to you about the importance of taking care of our ears and ears after a scuba dive. Our ears are a sensitive part of our body, and it is essential to take steps to keep them healthy and prevent potential injury. The ear is one of the parts that can suffer the most when diving and the one that we usually complain about the most.

Here are some of the best ways to care for your ears after diving:

Tip #1 - Proper equalization

One of the main causes of hearing problems is inadequate equalization. When we begin to dive, it is normal for us to make somewhat uncontrolled descents and perhaps we descend faster than we need to equalize well. This can cause our ears to work more than normal and, like any overloaded muscle, they will swell a little and hurt on the surface. For this reason, we say that equalizing is free and we have two ears for life, so be sure to follow the times and equalize frequently to avoid sudden pressure changes that can affect your ears. And slowly slowly with practice we will acquire better buoyancy that will allow us to make more controlled descents.

Perform Valsalva maneuvers: During the dive, it is essential to perform Valsalva maneuvers to equalize the pressure in the ears.

Tip #2 - Don't rush

Many times, when we finish the safety stop and give the signal that we are ready to go up, we quickly ascend to the surface. After a dive, it is important to take the time to make a slow and controlled ascent. Especially the last 5m where the pressure change will be greater. At the end of the dive, if safety procedures have been followed and there is still sufficient air and sea and weather conditions permitting, there is no rush to surface. If it is necessary to take a minute for those last five meters, all the better. This will allow your ears to gradually adjust to changes in pressure.

Don't go up too fast, as this can cause ear pain and even injury.

Calm female diver enjoying the safety stop. enjoying the last minutes of the dive
Enjoying the last minutes of the dive

Tip #3 - Keep your ears dry

How do we do this if we are under the sea? nowadays I often use a mask with ear protectors. They are very ugly glasses that are useless for instagram. But, they prevent water from getting into the ears and make equalization easier. Almost always, the best remedy is prevention and with glasses like this, people who suffer from infections often will be taking better care of their ears and helping to prevent infections. I use them since diving every day the probability of infection is higher and I don't want to miss a single dive!! Link to the mask HERE

Pro ear mask to protect ears in diving

Tip #4 - Rinse with fresh water

After getting out of the water, it is advisable to rinse your ears with fresh water to remove any residue of salt, sand or any other substance that may have entered during the dive. You can use a water bottle or a syringe without a needle to gently spray warm water into your ear canal. Tilt your head to one side to allow the water to flow, and then tilt it to the other side to allow the water to flow out. Make sure the water is not too hot or too cold, as extreme temperatures can cause discomfort or even injury.

Tip #5 - Don't use pressurized water

It's important to be careful when rinsing your ears to avoid applying pressurized water directly to the eardrum. This could cause damage to the middle ear. Instead, keep the water flow smooth and controlled.

A firefighter throwing water under pressure

Tip #6 Use boric water

Pharmacy sign where you can buy boric water

Some people use boric water solutions as an additional rinse to prevent infection or to keep their ears clean. Boric water is a mild solution used to wash the external ear canal. You can get boric water at a drugstore or prepare it yourself by following the instructions on the product. Use a dropper to gently instill a few drops into the affected ear, then tilt your head to let the excess fluid drain out. However, it is important to keep in mind that the use of boric water must be indicated by a doctor and its use is not recommended without prior consultation.

Tip #7 Avoid inserting objects into the ears

Never insert cotton swabs, fingers, or other objects into your ears to try to clean them, as this can push wax back into the ear canal or even cause injury. The ear has its own natural cleaning mechanism, and wax is part of that process. If you have excessive buildup of wax or any discomfort, it is best to consult a hearing health specialist.

Tip #8 Consult a specialist if you experience problems

If you experience persistent pain, a blocked sensation, or hearing loss after diving, it's important to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor. They will be able to evaluate any injury or infection and provide you with the appropriate treatment.

Remember your Dive Masters or instructors we have not studied medicine

Diver enjoying the bottom of the sea

Caring for your ears is essential to enjoy a safe and pleasant diving experience. Follow these recommendations and keep your ears in good condition. Dive responsibly and protect your senses as you explore the fascinating underwater world!

Remember that cleaning the ears should be gentle and careful. If you experience pain, persistent irritation, hearing loss, or any other abnormal symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention from an ear, nose, and throat specialist for proper evaluation.

If you have any other questions or advice about caring for your ears after diving, leave me a comment. I'm here to help you!


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