In freediving, if there is one factor that is often ignored by new freedivers, it is ear equalization. Many individuals start freediving expecting it to be the physical breath-hold or mental ability to cope with being underwater to be the sport's most difficult factor and are frequently shocked when the difficulty is equalizing the middle ear.
Our head, sinuses, mask, and lungs are the air spaces that need to be equalized when freediving. We are simply referring to our middle ear, situated behind the eardrum, and attached to the back of your throat through the Eustachian tubes when we talk about equalizing our ears.
Let's look at the six common mistakes freedivers make during equalization in freediving:
1. Not being able to relax
When you find yourself underwater suddenly, an unexpected upside position may not seem relaxing. After this, implementing equalization can prove to be more difficult.
Prevention- try practicing breath-holding techniques, this can even be done without water. Doing muscle relaxing exercises can also help cure the issue of equalization.
2. Diving too fast
The faster you go down, the quicker you need to equalize. If you are skilled at it, great, otherwise it can be difficult to maintain the pace.
Prevention- Slow down your falling speed, use the free immersion discipline where you can use the line to stop or slow it easier. keep in mind that you become negatively floatable as you get deeper, but you can always descend without even kicking or pulling.
3. Using the wrong equalization methodology
Try out the Frenzel technique, it is the best way to freedive equalization. Some individuals do it spontaneously, and some individuals need to master it.
Prevention- get more familiar with the Frenzel technique and find out how to manage the soft palate and glottis, and the right tongue position that works for you. Away from the sea, you can do all this.
4. No Frequent Equalizations
Freediving equalization needs to be accomplished efficiently, so you need to be prepared to do it as much and as quickly as possible. Keep practicing and eventually master it effectively.
Prevention- Try to keep your fingers close to the nose, always prepared to pinch whenever needed. In anticipation of higher pressure coming up, equalize in a rhythm pattern, not only waiting to feel pressure before responding to it, which may prove too late for the freediver.
5. Remember to equalize the mask
The mask is frequently overlooked as air space and by exhaling through the nose, it needs to be equalized. If this is not achieved, the ability to equalize the ears may have a knock-on impact.
Prevention- if you feel that the pressure is increasing as you are diving deeper, try to exhale into the mask.
6. Not enough training
If you want to master any sport, it requires intense training sessions. Similarly, ear equalization takes time to learn, as with any skill. It is not always natural to regulate the parts of the body involved yet a workout makes it easier.
Prevention - the only prevention here is to practice more and more. Thankfully, most training in ear equalization can be done dry, so you can practice at any time before you even get in the bath. Every day, doing a little bit of training would pay off substantially in the long run.