I'm new here so I'm sorry if this question has been asked before.
I'm having equalization issues... I've always had problems right from when I first started diving but they seem to be getting worse.
When I first got my ticket I had small problems but decided it was manageable. I don't get the chance to dive a lot as I don't live near the ocean and normally only dive if I go away on holiday.
BUT I have recently started working on a cruise ship and get some great deals on dives around the south pacific, (Vanuatu, Fiji, Australia etc). Anyway I have done a couple of dives since I have been working there and they were all abysmal... I couldn't enjoy them for one second because my equalization was so bad... the last trip I did was down to 30m I think... I only got 3 minutes of bottom time... the rest of it was used descending... I would go down half a meter, stop try to equalize, wouldn't work, go up, equalize, go down, equalize, wouldn't work, go up... rinse and repeat.. I held up the group I was with and one of the guides had to split off to wait for me because I couldn't go with the rest of them... eventually I got down but i was in so much pain I don't remember the dive... went to the next dive and thought ok well Ive gotten down now so my ears should be warmed up now so should be OK... nope same problem... whole group had to surface early as there was blood coming out of my ears and nose and the guide was worried it would attract sharks lol...
this has happened 3 or four times now (bleeding only once though) and the doctor on board the ship is getting sick of treating me for barotrauma... and said he refuses to treat me for shark bites if its my own fault.
I have always had narrow sinuses... My nose clogs up if someone even talks about having a cold and I suffer terribly from hay fever... hell my nose clogs when I get hot... On top of that I have trouble getting a proper squeeze on my nose in a face mask... it works better if I take the mask off but lets be honest that's not really an ideal solution
My girlfriend (who knows nothing about diving, dive medicine,ears or sharks) suggested I wear earplugs... I told her that was a terrible idea and explained to her I did a brief stint as a medic in the RNZN so have seen my fair share of dive related injuries and like to think I know a little bit about dive medicine and barotrauma...
Anyway I was investigating the possibility of getting assessed by an ENT specialist and having a minor operation to help and I stumbled across something called Doc's Proplugs which are vented earplugs... they claim to make equalization easier by slowly releasing water into the ear to ease the sudden pressure increase inside the ear... much like a very slow descent would work... it makes sense in my mind that this would work
but my dad is a salesman and i don't trust a word he says so i'm certainly not going to trust a website from the USA of all places so I would be keen to know of anyone who has actually used these and found them to be useful?
I love diving and where I work at the moment has some of the best diving in the world but I'm missing out at the moment because I am defective and attract sharks
website is http://www.proplugs.com/scubadiving.shtml
Thanks for your help... any help is appreciated however to save you the time I have already tried the following:
Yawning while equalizing
swallowing while equalizing
Blowing my Nose
Pre equalizing before diving
Eucalyptus Sticks or Vix
Waxsol or ear cleaning fluid stuff
Praying to God (this one was suggested by an American)
looking up while descending
pulling my ears while descending
sticking fingers in my ears
having someone else stick their fingers in my ears (this also was an American)