Equalization issues are one of the most frustrating problems in spearfishing and freediving. If you can’t equalize your ears or sinus, you are stuck on the boat.


Proper hydration will help make your ears easier to equalize. Being dehydrated causes your Eustachian tubes to be sticky and more likely to lock up.

Proper hydration is not drinking a big jug of water just after you put your wetsuit on. Proper hydration starts the night before and continues until your dive session. If you are adequately hydrated your pee will have barely any yellow in it, and yes I know if you drink a bunch of beer your pee will be clear, but that doesn’t count.

You probably know alcohol makes you dehydrated. Ever notice you have more issues with your ears after too much alcohol?


When descending, you should be equalizing BEFORE you feel pain or pressure. Ever notice that sometimes it feels like there is water in your ear that won’t come out after a day of diving? Ever notice your hearing is sometimes muffled after a day of diving? Ever notice after 2-3 days of diving it gets harder and harder to equalize?

If so you are likely experiencing Barotis media, an injury to your ear. Equalize way more frequently to make this issue go away.

This “simple” piece of advice is often overlooked because it’s too simple. I’ve had hundreds of students over the years say this made a huge difference with their ear issues.

Hopefully, you understand you have to equalize your ears and your mask. Often when students hear me say equalize more often, I catch them pinching there nose shut the entire dive. The results in the inability to equalize your mask, which can result in mask squeeze.

The solution is to keep your hand on your nose the entire dive and just pinch the nose when you need to equalize and then un-pinch it after the equalization is done, so you can equalize your mask when needed.

Valsalva vs Frenzel

Let’s figure out what method of equalization you are using. Pinch your nose with one hand, and place your other hand on your stomach. Now equalize five times in a row. Do you feel your stomach clenching every time you equalize? Do you struggle to equalize in 15-40ft range? If you answered yes to these questions its because you are using the Valsalva method of equalization If you continue to use that method you will always be limited in your freediving.

Freedivers need to use the Frenzel method of equalization. I have an online program that teaches my step by step method of how to do Frenzel. You can see it @ www.OnlineClasses.ImmersionFreediving.com. Use code Spearing19 at checkout to reduce the price from $49 to $39.

Most serious Freediver avoid dairy like the plague. Increasing your dairy consumption (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc) is known to make equalizing your ears more difficult. I suggest trying to minimize your dairy consumption two days before you go diving.

Two days before a class I try to minimize my dairy consumption. After class is over on Sunday, Kathy tries to give me a dairy hangover by making me cheese dip, fettuccini alfredo, and some dessert with ice-cream. When I wake up Monday morning, I can tell it’s harder to clear my ears for sure.

Avoiding Ear Infections

Here is a simple way to avoid getting ear infections. I am not a doctor, but following this advice I got from an ENT years ago has stopped me from getting ear infections. I would consult your doctor before using any medication.

I get swimmers ears from Walgreens of CVS. I dump out half the bottle and fill up the other half with distilled regular white vinegar. Now I put this bottle in my mask box. Now every time I put my mask in the box I am reminded to use the drops.

FreeDive Live

I’ve started a new show called FreeDive Live. On the show, I share entertaining and educational stories from my career, pick one topic to discuss in-depth, and answer your questions live at the end of the show.

You can watch the show on Monday & Wednesday @ 7:00 p.m. EST on the Immersion Freediving Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Twitch page. If you miss the live show you can still watch the replay as I don’t take them down.

Dive safe out there, you can learn how @ www.FreedivingSafetey.com

Ted Harty – your trusted online freediving resource