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My BF and I got our OW cert. dives in this weekend and now he says he feels like his ears are still clogged. He's tried equalizing and put some of those "swimmer's ear" drops in his ears but nothing has helped. Is this common and is there anything he can do about them?
This is not an uncommon problem that has been covered many times, I'm sure.
Am in my third year of diving and it seems as if I spent my entire first year figuring out how to solve the waterlogged ear situation. My first dive trip for my OW cert resulted in clogged ears that turned into an ear infection that required a doctor's visit, some antibiotics and ear drops to knock out.
Experienced divers turned me on to a homemade earwash made up of 1/2 distilled white vinegar and 1/2 rubbing alcohol. Use it the same way you use the Swimmer's Ear solution and it should help. Now, my procedure after every dive (while still on the boat) is to flush with Swimmer's Ear, then use the vinegar/alcohol solution when I get back to the room. Basically, I let the solution sit in each ear for a few minutes then let it drain out. Sometimes repeating the process. Might be overkill but I tend to over do things anyway and it has helped tremendously.
The other thing you can do is take note of which head positions tend to cause your ears to fill up and try to avoid them. For example, if I do a backward roll off the side of the boat and flip completely over, my ears will fill up. So, now I make sure I don't flip completely over.
If you are prone to ear problems you may not eliminate them completely but hopefully these ideas might help.
My physician advised 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 rubbing alchohol. Lay on your side put a few drops into an ear canal until it's muffled and let it stand for a full 5 minutes, no cheating. Roll over and do the other ear.
Some navy studies revealed the 5 minute need.
Throwing in a drop or 2 and walking away isn't doing much more than cleaning the hair in your ears.
The treatment will prevent swimers ear and will also help dry out residual water since alchohol will combine with water to carry it out. Much like drygas for you northerners.
As explained by my physician the alchohol will serve to kill off nasty organisims and also provides a drying function.
The vinegar also makes life miserable for critters in there and helps restore the natural acidic condition in the ear.
Swimmers ear is usually not a product of the swimming water. It comes from normally occuring organisims in the ear that multiply out of contol in a wet no acid post dive ear.
The above treatment should be done at the end of every dive (skin, scuba, swim, whatever) day. It can be quite relaxing if done spooning with your S.O.
Last edited by spectrum; August 16th, 2005 at 07:51 PM.
I just went through this, Went swimming.. acouple of days later it felt blocked.. ignored it.. then it started to throb! went to the doctors and found i had external ear infection got some drops .. 7 days later gone
Hey Spectrum - Thanks for adding the logic behind the recipe, always good to know the "why" before you start pouring a home-made conncoction into your ears (precious as they are! ) ..........
recently i also heard a recommendation for ear candleing ..... i haven't tried it yet, but it sounds like a lot of trouble to perform on a boat unless it is a sleepy live-aboard, but maybe it would help your ears be in overall better condition PRIOR to the dive? not sure.
My father gets swimmer's ear really bad. If you rinse with a solution of isoprophyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and distilled white vinegar before you get in the water is appears to help. If your ears don't "feel" dry put the solution in each ear for several minutes. Usually it's 5 minutes on each side once but when he had a sinus infection he did it 3 times each side. Sometimes if it's really bad he would use a weaker mix of around 50% total alcohol.
A friend uses a 2:1 alcohol and vinegar was before goin into salt water. All this does for him is to help clear the wax out and his ears drain better for him. My doctor doesn't want me to dive since "it's a dangerous sport". Allegedly his good friend died on his 3rd dive ever when his lungs over expanded. I just tell him to think of me as a skateboarder that wears knee pads then.