Maximize your experience by maximizing your fluid intake!! Scott Phillips, Instructor Coral Key Scuba
You’re on day 3 of your 5 day dive trip and you have had several days of 2 or 3 tank days on this trip. You’re now having trouble clearing your ears. What’s up, as you’ve typically not had any issues in the past?
In initially looking at this, I used personal experience and some common points from my work as a flight paramedic. I also did a lot of work personally with hydration status, as I typically existed in a chronic dehydration state. Once I began to hydrate appropriately, I noticed that it was easier to clear my ears while diving. This made me look for research to see if this was real, or just coincidence. What I found is that there is a possible correlation to dehydration and problems with the eustachian tubes. As noted in an article from Brigham Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, there is a condition dealing with patient eustachian tube dysfunction that can be caused by dehydration. This is due to decreasing the water content in the fatty tissue around the eustachian tubes.
Another component of this dehydration in scuba diving is the fact that you are breathing dry air. Our bodies are designed to need humidified, warm air to breath as it gets to our lungs. To humidify the air, we use water from our body as the humidifier. This further dehydrates us.
The key point with this topic, is make sure you drink WATER in between your dives and during your trip, and drink more than you think you need. Your ears will thank you at the end of the week. Happy diving! Scott