Ear Equalization/Clearing Techniques

Diagram of the Ear


With the nostrils pinched closed, pressure is increased in the chest. An attempt is made to blow out the closed nostrils and cheek muscles are kept tight and retracted, not puffed out.

THE FRENZEL MANEUVER (preferred pressurization)

Close off the vocal cords, as though you are about to lift a heavy weight. The nostrils are pinched closed and an effort is made to make a "K" or guttural "guh" sound. By doing this you raise the back 1/3 of the tongue and the "Adams Apple" will elevate.


Pinch nostrils shut while swallowing.


Muscles of the soft palate are contracted while upper throat muscles are employed to pull the Eustachian tube open. This technique is similar to the events that happen in the back of your throat at the end of a yawn. It is also similar to wiggling your ears.

EDMONDS TECHNIQUE(pressurization)

Pressurization by either the Valsalva or Frenzel maneuver can be combined with jaw thrust or head tilt to more effectively open the Eustachian tube.

LOWRY TECHNIQUE (pressurization)

Pinch nostrils, build up pressure and swallow at the same time


Pinching nostrils with a moderate pressure in the back of the throat. Generation of pressure is again by either Valsalva or Frenzel Technique. The head is suddenly twitched sideways.

HEAD TILT(pressurization)

Tilt the head and neck to one side while keeping your shoulders stable. Point the slow ear upwards, then equalize using any one of the conventional techniques. Tilting the head stretches the folds around the Eustachian tube, making equalizing easier.

More information can be heard in Dr. Edmond Kay's streaming video lecture: The Diver's Ear - Under Pressure