Can You Wear Ear Plugs When Scuba Diving?

Can you dive with earplugs

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If you love time in the water, you’re not alone in the least.

Diving tourism is experiencing a 6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) today, which is a sign that many people love this activity. When you know how to dive correctly and safely, you’ll protect your health and have more fun in the process.

Many people deal with ear issues when they scuba dive due to the depths and water pressure.

Can you wear ear plugs when scuba diving? What else should you know about diving the right way? We’re happy to explain.

Keep reading to learn about protecting your ears while diving, in addition to some other useful words of advice.

Can You Wear Ear Plugs When Scuba Diving?

Scuba experts advise against using ear plugs whenever you’re diving underwater. You need to be able to equalize your ears and get rid of pressure whenever you dive. By wearing earplugs, it creates space that makes it difficult for you to correctly equalize your ears.

This can compound the issues and make ear pain and discomfort even worse. The inability to equalize your ears while dealing with more water pressure can lead to decompression sickness.

When you wear ear plugs while you scuba dive, you can deal with significant health issues, including:

  • Sharp ear pain
  • Intense discomfort and pain in your ears or head
  • A constant popping in your ears
  • Building of fluid in your ears
  • Dizziness and disorientation
  • Stuffiness in your ears
  • Muffled sounds

The fact that ear plugs can cause pain, discomfort, and health issues means you should look for other ways to handle your ear issues.

How Can Scuba Divers Deal with Their Ear Issues?

Since ear plugs are out of the question, what can you do to handle ear issues as they come along? Thankfully, there are a few remedies that you can look into.

Here are some ways to take care of your ears while you scuba dive, without having to use ear plugs:

Buy Some Quality Ear Drops

There are some ear drops you can purchase that are intended for people who dive, swim, and take part in other types of watersports. Use a few drops in your ears before and after activity, and throughout the day, and it will help to dry up moisture so that it doesn’t continuously build up in your ears.

Keep some drops handy at all times and you’ll be able to maintain healthy ears so that you don’t feel the need to use ear drops.

Masks with Ear Protection

Since you can’t use ear plugs, you can look into other types of protection to help you. A scuba hood can cover your ears while you dive so that they’re protected, but not create a vacuum in your ears.

These hoods cover your entire head, and they cover your ears while having varying levels of thickness. Choose hoods that are made from materials like neoprene, so that they’re able to fit your head snugly without blocking your ear’s ability to equalize.

Learn to Equalize Your Ears

The best way to handle your ear issues is to learn the proper way to equalize your ears. This will get rid of compressed air so that it’s not applying pressure to your eardrums.

Scuba divers have found a few different successful methods for equalizing their ears so that they can keep pain, pressure, and discomfort to a minimum. Here are some of the main things you need to know:

  • Tilt your head and jaw forward and flex your throat to equalize your ears
  • Pinch your nostrils with two fingers and swallow
  • Pinch your nostrils with two fingers and make a “Kuh” sound with your mouth
  • Pinch your nostrils and blow a stream of air out of your mouth
  • Alternate between a mixture of pinching your nostrils and blowing air and swallowing

The key is to make sure that you equalize as frequently as you need to. Don’t wait until the pressure builds up and becomes unbearable to start trying these methods. The sooner and more often you do it, the easier time you’ll have with your scuba experience.

Use Proper Form When Diving

Learning to become the best scuba diver possible will also help you deal with ear pain. Get certified by an instructor and train often so that you’re perfecting your techniques. Always dive feet first instead of head first in order to diminish some of the pressure that builds.

If you’re brand new, take a class that teaches scuba diving for beginners so that you can learn all of the tips and tricks that will help you. These courses go a lot more in-depth than the typical hour course you’d take to go scuba diving on vacation.

Stay fit so that you have strong lungs and cardio, and make sure to hydrate prior to going diving.

Foods and Substances to Avoid When Diving

Avoid dairy 24 hours before a dive and 24 hours after, since dairy is inflaming and can lead to more mucus production. This includes milk, cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt, and any type of cream.

The same applies to foods like:

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Foods rich in histamines, such as tomatoes, processed meats, citrus, and fermented foods
  • Processed food items
  • Different types of chocolate
  • Coffee

In addition to monitoring your food intake, make sure to avoid tobacco use within 24 hours of diving. Smoking inhibits your body’s oxygen uptake, which compromises your ability to get enough oxygen when you dive.

Scuba Dive Safely and Correctly

So, can you wear ear plugs when scuba diving? Now that you know the answer to this question and some tips to counteract ear pain, follow these points so you can enjoy your scuba experience.

We’re also to help you out with any other information that you need. Your scuba diving experience will be fun and productive when you brush up on the skills and thought processes that matter.

When you’re ready to dive into other useful topics, subscribe to the website and check out some other posts today.

Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson, a scuba diving enthusiast from San Diego, has spent over a decade exploring the underwater world across the globe. Sharing his passion through captivating stories and informative articles, Jack aims to inspire others to embark on their own scuba diving adventures and uncover the ocean's hidden treasures. Follow Jack on Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, and Facebook or email him at

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