What Is The Definition Of A Squeeze In Scuba Diving?


There are many dangers and risks related to scuba diving, and the so-called “squeeze” is one of them. It can cause discomfort, even injury, and damage your tissues, so it is really important to learn how to recognize the symptoms and react on time.

In this article, we’ll go through the definition of a squeeze in scuba diving. Besides the squeeze definition and the squeeze diving prevention, you’ll also read about some additional tips and tricks that will keep you safe and sound during your diving session.

What Is A Squeeze Definition?

The diving squeeze is, in simple words, the difference between the air pressure in a diver’s body and the pressure of the water the diver is descending to. More precisely, it means that the air pressure is lower than the pressure of the water.

When Does It Occur?

During a descending, the pressure of the water increases. This difference won’t be felt on arms, legs, or chests because they are filled with liquid, but there will be some effects on the body parts that have air spaces, like nostrils and ears.

During the descending, the air pressure in the air spaces on a diver’s body will remain the same, so the deeper the diver goes, the bigger that difference will be. If the diver doesn’t let the pressures equalize, the final result will be the so-called “squeeze”, the feeling like the water is trying to go out or in the air space.

Where Could It Happen?

Most often, the squeeze will hit the diver’s ears, but that’s not all. It can also happen to a diver’s sinuses, a diver’s mask (so-called “face squeeze”), and in some extreme cases even lungs.

How To Prevent Squeeze?

It is actually really easy. All that needs to be done is to equalize the pressure in the air spaces and it will all be OK. This lesson is one of the first ones a diving beginner will learn at the course, but here are a few tips on how to do it by yourself:

  • To equalize ears, pinch the nostrils gently and breathe out through the nose
  • To equalize the mask, the diver should exhale inside the mask
  • To equalize the lungs, the diver should breathe without a stop

Can It Be Dangerous?

The squeeze could show its ugly head in the form of slight discomfort, pain, and even injury, so it is one of the scuba diving risks and dangers. That’s why it is recommended to stop descending the moment the first sign of the squeeze is felt, ascend a few feet, and let the pressures equalize by reducing the difference. If not, the difference could become so big that the pressure will start to damage the diver’s tissues, which is called barotrauma.

How To Prevent It?


Sometimes the squeeze will require a break from diving, but to avoid that or cutting your session short there are some additional tips on how to prevent it:

  • Don’t dive if you don’t know how to clear your ears.
  • Clear your ears the moment before you enter the water.
  • If you’re unable to clear anymore, stop your descent. Go up a few feet and try again. If you succeed, continue your dive slowly. If it happens again, repeat the process. If you can’t do it, head back to the surface.
  • Equalize early and do it often.
  • Don’t force it. It is better to abort and head back than to force it and to end up injured.

You might also like: What Is Surface Interval In Scuba Diving?

How To Treat It?

As we’ve already said, squeeze could lead to barotrauma, which could eventually cause damage, so it is recommended to visit the doctor as soon as you can, or else you could only make things worse and end up having to make a way bigger pause than originally thought.

Globo Surf Overview

Squeeze in scuba diving is one of the most spread injuries among divers but it is easily preventable if you don’t rush things. Just be responsible, listen to your body, and don’t let it wait – the sooner you react, the better.

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