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Mask for pressure equalizing problems

Discussion in 'Fins, Masks and Snorkels' started by Chris Ra, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. Chris Ra

    Chris Ra Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Germany

    I am looking for a mask which makes pressure equalizing easier. I've gotten myself a middle ear barotrauma from my last trip and while searching on Google about this issue, I've stumbled on the Subgear PRO EAR 2000 mask. Can you recommend this mask? Are there any other alternatives?

    Thank you very much for your input!
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    Compensator masks with finger wells for pinching the nostrils to clear the ears have been around since the late 1950s. The model above is the Senior Securit still available from the French diving equipment gear manufacturer Beuchat, which patented a mask with equalisation bosses inside in 1958. The Italian-made Cressi Pinocchio launched in 1953 and worn below by its designer Luigi Ferraro has a pinchable nosepiece for the same Valsalva manoeuvre and it too remains on sale nowadays:
    Sam Miller III likes this.
  3. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    You should consider that mask a crutch/last ditch effort. Most barotrauma is a function of poor technique, especially not clearing enough and EARLY enough, on the surface and minimally every 1/2M down to 10M. Then you might be able to back off a bit. Go slowly, pay attention. Do not let the dive group, guide, or buddy force your descent. If you can clear easily on land, then you should be able to do so underwater, but you have to stay on top of it and be very aware of your ears at all times.

    If you can't clear easily on land, then you need to see an upper respiratory physician. Sometimes medical support is needed. I've been using nasal steroids, and nasal rinses for my 20+ years of diving.

    If all that doesn't work, then add the mask. They do help, but they won't fix poor technique.
    Chris Ra likes this.
  4. gr8jab

    gr8jab Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oregon, USA
    I have never seen this mask before, and I am not a medical expert. In fact, I've never seen anyone use such a mask or anything similar. I did spend some time on their web page: Swimming Ear Protection Diving Masks ProEar 2000. Their claims of easing equalization are spurious and anecdotal, and without any strong evidence. I guess the fact that air is more compressible than water might provide some compliance, but I'm not sure to what end.

    Middle ear Barotrauma ("Ear Squeeze") - pain caused by failure to equalize pressures between the outer and middle ear. Caused by blockage in the Eustachian tube. Pressures cannot be equalized and the eardrum is forced inward causing considerable pain, bleeding into middle ear and sometimes rupture of the eardrum. - Preliminary results from multiple dives indicate easier pressure equalization. Possibly explained by lack of stimulation of tympanic membrane and the resultant middle-ear secretions.

    For preventing water entering the outer ear canal, this is possibly a viable product.

    For helping with equalization, I would consider this mask as snake oil (ein Quacksalber), and not waste my money. Follow the suggestions above and see a doctor. Try Sudafed + Ibuprofen + Flonaise + prednisone.
    Chris Ra likes this.
  5. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    The mask does work, but it won't do the job for you. I know a couple divers that use or have used one. One diver......finally.....got the hang of equalization and now does OK without it. The other one has....very....fragile eardrums and they tend to blow out no matter how careful she is after a bunch of day diving in a row. The mask allows easier and lower pressure equalization.

    That said, the mask has to fit, like all masks which is it's own problem, and it adds one more layer of complexity to the dive. So, it's a tool, but a last resort tool, not first line.
    Chris Ra likes this.
  6. Pleinmont

    Pleinmont Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: British Virgin Islands
    Like fmerkel says, I don’t think the Subgear 2000 will necessarily help with your problem.

    It seems to be designed to keep your ears dry, but your outer ears will still be pressurised. To avoid mask squeeze you have to breathe pressurised air through your nose into your mask; the Subgear mask has connector tubes which bring the same pressurised air to your ears (which seems sensible to avoid a squeeze on the sides of your head). So you will still have to equalise in order to avoid barotrauma.

    Read up on equalisation techniques and work out which suits you best. I had quite a lot of difficulty equalising to start with, but learning the techniques and descending slowly while I tried them really helped. If you do guided dives, make sure the guide knows you have trouble equalising before you get in the water and they can plan accordingly. That way you won’t feel pressure (pun intended) to descend too fast: I found that made a major difference for me.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!
    Chris Ra likes this.
  7. fmerkel

    fmerkel Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Salish Sea (Seattle)
    I have trouble with sinuses, not ears. You can clear ears, sinuses have to clear themselves. I have to descend....very slowly. When I tell new buddies that, and I always make that part of the dive plan and safety check, half the time I get a response that is very much in favor of that, since they often feel rushed and have issues themselves. No one has ever made it a problem.
    Chris Ra likes this.
  8. happy-diver

    happy-diver Skindiver Just feelin it ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: same ocean as you
    imagine having to seal-clear your mask AND ear pods

    Keep practicing dude

    You'd have to wear your hair in a person bun
  9. mike41799

    mike41799 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Palm Beach, FL

    I dive with the Pro Ear Mask, along with docs pro plugs and the fitted hood. I have perforated eardrums and can't go underwater in a bathtub, so this mask is my only option. Along with shaving my beard and side of head around the ears I can say that it works if your committed to it. It can be a pain, but worth it for me.

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