Author Topic: ProEar mask - misleading claim by manufacturer?  (Read 2289 times)

bbrisco

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ProEar mask - misleading claim by manufacturer?
« on: August 11, 2012, 14:24:34 UTC »
This months UC issue has a good piece reviewing various masks. This one caught my eye:

"Divers who suffer from ear troubles while diving will see the IST ProEar mask as a godsend ($100; www.istsports.com ). It encloses the ears and the nose within the same airspace (they're linked by tubes with oneway valves), so that the ears are kept dry in the same way and can also be cleared of water. The air space around the ears can reveal the underwater world to be a rather noisy place, but otherwise it really works."

So I went to the manufacturers website to learn more about such a unique mask design. At http://istsports.com/web/product.php?id_product=20080 it says:

"The soft silicone Ear Covers forms a water tight seal between the ear drum and the cover. The pressure buffer created to have the same pressure as your nasal cavity mask when air exhaled through the nose is introduced through the Equalization Tubes. Therefore the ear pressure in the middle and outer area is the same and the “squeeze” from the ambient will be significantly reduced."

The part of that text that I show in bold does not make sense to me, and I do not see how the design of this mask can make it easier for a diver to equalize their ears (which is what the manufacturers website appears to be stating). A properly functioning regulator delivers air at a pressure equal to the pressure of the water at whatever depth the diver is at. If the diver has properly functioning Eustachian tubes, the middle ear pressure will be essentially the same as the pressure exerted by the water on the outer ear (on the eardrum).

If the diver does not have properly functioning Eustachian tubes I do not see how the IST ProEar mask culd make it easier for the diver to equalize their ears.

I have always had difficulty equalizing my ears and I have tried everything: decongestants, swallowing, pinching my nose and exerting pressure (mild) via my diaphragm, neck movements. And I can only descend with my head up: I cannot descend head down at all.

The only thing that works for me is to descend very, very slowly and clear frequently. I am always the last one to arrive at the planned depth. I also have to ascend very slowly so as not to get a reverse block.

It seems to me that the only advantage of the IST ProEar mask is that it keeps the ear canals dry and of you are prone to Otitis externa (infection of the outer ear, spelling corrected :-) it could reduce that.  But using ear drops is cheaper and effective.

« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 16:04:28 UTC by bbrisco »

DocV

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Re: ProEar mask - misleading claim by manufacturer?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2012, 13:26:33 UTC »
  "The soft silicone Ear Covers forms a water tight seal between the ear drum and the cover. The pressure buffer created to have the same pressure as your nasal cavity mask when air exhaled through the nose is introduced through the Equalization Tubes. Therefore the ear pressure in the middle and outer area is the same and the “squeeze” from the ambient will be significantly reduced."

Agree, bbrisco--sounds like a bunch of gobbledegook to me.

BTW, your last paragraph needs some tidying up. The correct term is otitis externa, not "Otitis external" and it refers to an infection of the external auditory canal, a portion of the outer ear.

Thanks for bringing this mask up for discussion. Funny thing, but I have a passing acquaintance with the chap who designed and manufactures it.

Regards,

DocV

bbrisco

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Re: ProEar mask - misleading claim by manufacturer?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2012, 16:04:09 UTC »
DocV, thanks for your reply and for catching my spelling error; looks like the auto correct spell checker in my browser got out of control.  ;)

I am glad to know that my suspicions about that manufacturers claim were correct.  They are right to promote their mask as being a design that keeps the ear canal dry, but I suspect only a small percentage of divers have chronic problems with Otitis externa. And if those divers would consistently use ear drops at the end of every diving day the percentage would probably be smaller still. 

ut the manufacturer is wrong to promote the mask as one that will reduce ear "squeeze".

Cat276330

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Re: ProEar mask - misleading claim by manufacturer?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2012, 12:17:09 UTC »
I think making sure i rinse my ears after every dive and a bottle of ear drops is a much easier and cheaper alternative!
In my other life I also run - http://www.divereport.com

conchasdiver

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Re: ProEar mask - misleading claim by manufacturer?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2012, 17:56:15 UTC »
My main dive buddy has had a problem w/ ear infections for years after multiple dives on multiple days. He bought one of these masks & has dove w/ it for two years now & swears by it. He has had no further ear problems.

I don't pretend to know how it works but it does for him, although he does look pretty funny in it!

 

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