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Equalizing with FFM

Discussion in 'OTS - Ocean Technology Systems' started by Mike126, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. Mike126

    Mike126 Barracuda

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    Over the past few years of diving I have developed issues with equalizing with a regulator in my mouth. I can equalize without issue without a reg in my mouth but when I have one in I am not able to open my ETs by stretching my jaw like a yawn. I've been looking at a FFM hoping that breathing and equalizing will be easier for me. With an FFM can you stretch your jaw/yawn without breaking the seal?

    How easy / effective is performing a valsalva?

    Thanks


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  2. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
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    yes you can, remember that these are designed to be talked into, so there is plenty of flexibility in the skirts. they also have nose blocks so you can blow into that from your nose.
     
  3. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba

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    Straight forward. There are little "knobs" on the inside of the mask -- at least the ones I've tried. If you push it against your face the knobs are positioned in such a way that your nose will be pinched shut and you can perform a valsalva.

    R..
     
  4. anelson-OTS

    anelson-OTS Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Santa Ana, CA
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    Hi Mike126 --

    A valsalva is extremely easy to do in the Guardian Full Face Mask. I have run into a big number of divers (recreational / public safety / military / etc) who take our equalizing "V" block and wire stand out of the oral nasal all together, including my wife. I call these people "the lucky ones" :). Others keep the V-block in as a backup.

    The bottom portion of the skirt is malleable and is made of a soft silicon material so performing that equalization technique is no problem. The Guardian full face mask is the only FFM on the market with a double-seal so that you get a better sealing surface and less chance of cracking the seal.

    The mask is also positive pressure in the water -- so even if you did crack the seal (i.e. pulling the skirt away from your face with your fingers), air will blow out and water will not come in.

    Hope this helps! Cheers.
     
  5. Mike126

    Mike126 Barracuda

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    Wow thanks for the quick response!

    I'm pretty much at a lost trying to get my equalizing down. The last two big trips to Turks and Caicos have been a bust for me due to middle ear barotrauma. I am on my way home from Turks this week after only a couple of dives.

    I was going to go to one of the LDSs in my area and take the FFM class to try it out. Hopefully this will be the answer.


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  6. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
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    so not to derail, but here are a few thoughts before you drop a grand on something that may or may not work.

    https://www.divegearexpress.com/c-bite-mouthpiece
    https://www.divegearexpress.com/comfo-bite-mouthpiece
    https://www.divegearexpress.com/seacure-moldable-mouthpieces

    Try one or all of those first. The C-bite style mouthpiece shouldn't fall out of your mouth as they hook in behind your front teeth and the seacure ones run quite far back for a similar effect. Frankly I'm not sure how you're having a problem with standard mouthpieces, but the C-bite mouthpieces are fantastic and really work.

    Make sure your ear canals are fully flooded, especially with a hood. This is something that I have issues with on occasion when I'm teaching and it's a big issue. First thing I do is pull back my hood and roll to each side to get them fully flooded.

    Take NSAID's first thing in the morning when you're diving. This will reduce any inflammation and help to minimize it which makes equalizing that much easier.

    If none of those options work, then go to FFM. I love my FFM for working dives, but they come with a lot of compromises and a big price tag for recreational usage
     
  7. anelson-OTS

    anelson-OTS Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Santa Ana, CA
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    Sorry to hear your last two trips were a bust. Especially at such fun locations as Turks and Caicos!

    A couple things about equalizing to consider (excuse me if you know this already, but since we are just getting to know each other I'd rather put it out there) :

    - Try looking up while you equalize. This helps stretch your neck and eustachian tubes which makes equalizing much easier. Some divers I've ran in to attempt to equalize while looking down (at all the pretty fish) and tuck their neck towards their chest which increases the difficulty.

    - Equalize early and often. The earlier you do it with less pressure built up, the easier it tends to be. I sometimes don't feel any pressure and equalize just to be safe. It can surprise you how little of a depth change can trigger a need for equalizing...take it slow descending, ascend a few feet if you need to, equalize, and then descend further.

    - If you do try the Guardian FFM, be sure to take the time to fit the equalizing block to your face. As I said earlier, some people leave it in as a backup, which is never a bad thing. Everyone's face is a little different, so your block set-up may not work for myself. The V-block should be low enough, to where you can still breathe through your nose, but not too high to the point of blocking off your nostrils completely. You should be able to equalize with a moderate push "up and in" of the regulator to get the V-block to block off your nose, enabling the equalization.

    - The mask and v-block should be comfortable on your face. Take the time to adjust the straps and block so that everything feels right. It may take a dive or two to find your perfect fit.

    Please let me know if I may be of any further help! Let me know how your demo goes with the FFM! Cheers.
     
  8. Mike126

    Mike126 Barracuda

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    Thanks guys. I have tried everything short of eustachian tuboplasty. I do have a Seacure mouthpiece which I find better than the comfort bite. I do use Afrin before dives but I am finding that decongestants dry me out. It seems when I have a reg in my mouth my jaw is just not in the right place to stretch my ETs open. I do use a down line and make a very slow descent and ascent.

    I have been diving since my mid 20s and I'm now 54. Early in my diving career I never had issues. But after a 10 year layoff when I returned 8 years ago I have not had much success. My ENT does not see any physical issues so I think it is part psychological and part retraining my ears.

    I think I'll take the class first to see if the FFM helps.


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  9. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
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    afrin won't work doesn't get all the way into your et's, you need to try oral nsaids, then report back.

    Have you tried the normal pinch and blow method?
     
  10. anelson-OTS

    anelson-OTS Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Santa Ana, CA
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    Mike --

    Good luck with your class, hope it gets things straightened out for you.

    If you need any help finding a local dealer of our equipment or have any further questions, please feel free to give me a call or email anytime. Have a safe return trip home.

    -Andy

    Email : anelson@otscomm.com

    Phone : (714)754-7848 ext. 106
     

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