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Making Night Dives While Scuba Diving
Identifying the Points of Sail

Protecting Your Ears While Scuba Diving

The following tips can help you protect your ears when you are scuba diving:

  • Equalize: Equalize your ears, either by pinching your nose closed and swallowing, or blowing gently against your pinched nose, continuously as you descend. Don't wait until you feel discomfort.

  • Don't descend if you can't equalize: Never continue a descent if you are unable to clear your ears. Ascend slightly until the discomfort is relieved and try it again. If your ears won't clear, abort the dive.

  • Don't dive with a cold: Colds and allergies can cause tissues to swell, blocking the eustachian tube. Decongestants may wear off at depth, causing a reverse block — pressurized air that's trapped in the middle ear and won't vent when you ascend.


  • Never wear earplugs: Earplugs create a space in the ear canal that can't be equalized. Also, hydrostatic pressure may force the earplugs deep into the ear canal where you cannot remove them easily.

  • Get medical attention: If you experience barotrauma in your ears, or suspect that you may have, consult an otolaryngologist immediately.    

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