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How to Properly Equalize While Diving with PADI Procedures

How to Properly Equalize While Diving with PADI Procedures

How to Properly Equalize While Diving with PADI Procedures

Scuba diving is a fascinating activity that offers the opportunity to explore the underwater world. However, to fully enjoy this experience, it's essential to master equalization techniques to prevent pressure-related issues. In this guide, we will explore how to correctly equalize during dives following PADI procedures.

What is Equalization and Why is it Important?

Equalization is the process of balancing the pressure in the body's air spaces, such as the ears and sinuses, with the surrounding water pressure. During descent, the pressure increases and can cause pain or damage if not properly equalized. This is why mastering this technique is crucial.

Equalization Techniques

PADI teaches several techniques for equalization, each of which can be used depending on personal preference and the specific situation. Here are the main ones:

  1. Valsalva Maneuver

  • Pinch your nose and gently blow through your closed nose.

  • This method pushes air through the Eustachian tubes, equalizing the pressure in the ears.

  1. Toynbee Maneuver

  • Pinch your nose and swallow.

  • Swallowing opens the Eustachian tubes, allowing air to equalize the pressure.

  1. Frenzel Maneuver

  • Place your tongue against the roof of your mouth and contract the throat muscles.

  • This technique is more advanced and requires practice but is very effective.

  1. Gradual Descent Methods

  • Descend slowly and equalize frequently.

  • Equalize every meter or every few seconds to maintain a constant pressure balance.

Tips for Effective Equalization

  1. Start at the Surface

  • Equalizing before starting your descent can help prevent pressure issues from the beginning.

  1. Equalize Frequently

  • Don't wait to feel pain. Equalize regularly to prevent discomfort.

  1. Stay Calm

  • Relax and don't force the equalization. A calm and controlled approach is more effective.

  1. Avoid Diving with a Cold or Congestion

  • Blocked airways can prevent proper equalization. It's better to avoid diving if you are not in perfect health.

  1. Use Support Products

  • Nasal decongestant sprays or allergy medications can help keep airways clear (always consult a doctor before use).

Common Problems and How to Solve Them

  • Difficulty Equalizing

  • If you encounter difficulty, stop, ascend a few meters, and try again.

  • Try different equalization techniques to find the most effective one for you.

  • Barotrauma

  • If you cannot equalize and feel pain, immediately stop descending. Continuing can cause damage to the inner ear.

  • Use of Devices like Otovent

  • Devices like Otovent can help train your equalization skills out of the water.


Proper equalization is essential for a safe and enjoyable dive. By following the techniques and tips listed above, you will be able to manage pressure effectively and enjoy your underwater adventures without issues. Always remember to practice these techniques regularly and consult your PADI instructor for further advice and supervision.

Happy diving!

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