The Uba Project Equalisation Tool is an ingenious device that not only measures how much pressure you are using to equalise your ears, but what technique you are using. Using their associated app, you can see how effective your equalisation is, and if you are performing it correctly. From the Frenzel equalisation technique, to the mouthfill, constant pressure equalisation, reverse packing and more, discover where you’re going right and where there’s room for improvement. And due to the nature of the Uba Project Equalisation Tool you can practice any time you’re away from the water.
So how does it work, do you need one, and is it worth the money? Here’s our comprehensive review of the Uba Project Equalisation Tool.
What is equalisation and why do we need to perform it when we dive?
When you descend in water, whether Scuba diving, freediving, snorkeling or spearfishing, the added pressure of the water causes the air spaces in your body to become rapidly smaller. The main air spaces we need to think about when freediving are our ears (specifically the middle ear space which sits just behind our ear drum), and our mask. Other air spaces such as the lungs and sinuses should equalise passively, although if you have sinus congestion then the sinuses may not equalise and you may feel pressure or pain in your cheeks, eyes, forehead or teeth.
If we do not add extra air into our middle ear and mask ‘equalising’ them back to their original pressure/amount at the surface and dive beyond our capacity (as little as a few metres near the surface), then we will get a baratrauma, a pressure related injury. This is something we always want to avoid!
A ‘mask squeeze‘ can result in the capillaries in the eyeballs bursting (not a good look), and an ear baratrauma could result in fluid in the middle ear, or, in the worst case scenario, the perforation or bursting of the ear drum.
The Uba Project Equalisation Tool is designed to make sure that we learn to make our equalisation effective and consistent when we dive, thus making our dives safer and easier.
So what are the various equalisation techniques used for freediving?
When we freedive we have a limited and finite amount of air to use, so we need to perform the most efficient and effective equalisation techniques. In addition, as we descend and pressure increases, the amount of air we have to play with decreases (see Boyle’s law) which means it becomes harder and harder to equalise the deeper we go.
According to Boyle’s Law:
If we want to dive deeper than our residual volume (usually around 30m depth), then we need to employ the mouthfill equalisation technique, whereby prior to reaching residual volume, we draw air into the mouth from the lungs, shut the epiglottis and then use the air in the mouth to equalise our ears and mask (if using) as we descend.
Here is a brief overview and description of various equalisation techniques available to freedivers:
- Mouthfill Frenzel
- Mouthfill constant pressurisation
We have covered equalisation in many of our articles and videos. Here’s a quick list of links for you for further reading:
What is the Uba Project equalisation tool and how can it help with equalisation for freediving?
The Uba Project Equalisation Tool is a very sensitive pressure measuring device that monitors very precisely the flow of air from one of your nostrils to determine what is going on inside your head (literally) when you equalise or perform equalisation and lung exercises.
When we teach freediving, it is easy to see if a student is wearing too much or too little weight. It is clear to see if they are not finning correctly or buddying safely. However it is impossible to see inside someone’s head, both literally and figuratively.
The biggest difficulty a freediving instructor has when teaching is determining if a student is equalising enough to prevent a problem, and also if they are performing a specific equalisation technique correctly. Often a student will be able to equalise one ear easily and so presumes that both have equalised. However they will get to a depth where ‘suddenly’ they experience pain.
In addition, when learning equalisation techniques such as the Frenzel out of the water, it is one thing to see if there is movement underneath the jaw, and hear little bits of air puffing out from half pinched nostrils (as in this video), however it is impossible to know if the pressure the person is exerting is enough to actually equalise the ears in the water whilst upside down.
The Uba Project Equalisation Tool takes away all the guesswork by showing on the screen of your mobile phone EXACTLY what is going on when you equalise, mouthfill, reverse pack, refill and so on.
By inflating air in your Uba Project Eq-tool pressure in your upper airway increases, the Eustachian tube opens and the eardrum vibrates.
Air pressure is measured by a wireless sensor connected to a mobile device while the data acquired can be analysed and recorded using a dedicated app.
Uba Project Equalisation Tool – Specifications
- The Uba Project Equalisation Tool is a small, cone shaped device with a adjustable ball on the top. The ball has a tiny hole in it, and you plug one nostril with it when performing the exercises (closing off the other nostril with your finger). The ball can be pulled out to four different positions which controls the rate that air is spilled from the device and simulates the usage of air during an actual dive (more on this below).
- It measures pressure in units of hectopascals (hPa). Hectopascals are used to quantify stress, tensile strength and internal pressure. One hectopascal is equal to 100 Pascals and there are 101,325 Pascals in every atmosphere (atm or bar) of pressure.
- The Uba Project Equalisation Tool weighs just 71 g with a height of 62 mm and a width of 52 mm when the ball is fulled depressed
- It is powered by a CR2032 battery (supplied for free if you buy one from us), has an off/on switch at the base of the device and comes in various colours – blue, yellow, red, green and white with a cloth carry bag.
- The Uba Project Equalisation Tool connects to your mobile device using low energy Bluetooth and the software requirement for your phone is IOS 10, Android 6 or later.
- The designers also say that they ‘conceived and designed The Uba Project Equalisation Tool choosing materials that respect the environment and humankind’.
How is it Powered?
The Uba Project Eq-Tool communicates with mobile devices though a Bluetooth low energy module powered by a CR2032 battery (not supplied by Uba as they are not permitted to ship with the battery), but the batteries are readily available – If you buy from us, we will provide the battery for you. The battery should last around 45 days with a daily use of more than an hour.
The ‘EarOn’ – The app for using the Uba Project Equalisation Tool
Before using your Uba Project Equalisation Tool for the first time, go to your device’s app store and download for free the ‘EarOn’ application. You need a device that runs IOS 10 or higher, or Android 6 or higher.
is currently available in English, Italian, French, Greek, Japanese and Chinese and is continually evolving to bring more languages onto the platform.
The core of the app for the Uba Project Equalisation Tool is an adaptive chart which shows in real time how you’re handling the air within your mouth, throat, lungs and ears. It shows if you’re using too much pressure during Frenzel, performing constant pressure mouthfill equalisation, involuntarily opening your soft palate during reverse packing and much more.
You can customise your training sessions with the Uba Project Equalisation Tool to suit your needs, and EarOn also stores all details of your training sessions.
In terms of benefits to an instructor, you can quickly show a student what they are doing and then give modifications for them to try. It is also easy to show how each person is different and needs different amounts of pressure to open their Eustachian tubes.
You can share your results with your instructor and friends and progress quickly. The EarOn app also has a game mode within it to make equalisation training fun – more on this below!
How the Uba Project works
Managing the volume of air you use when equalising is a learned skill. The Uba Project equalisation tool is an excellent tool to visualise your equalisation and any subsequent improvement. The valve system it employs means you have total control over your progress.
Instructions for first time use – setting your equalisation threshold
In order to get the most out of Uba Project Equalisation Tool you need to work out what pressure you need to create in order to open your eustachian tubes and equalise the pressure in your middle ear. Some people need a lot of pressure and some people almost none. By using the device to work out your minimum pressure threshold you can set this level for the different equalisation exercises to make sure that when you are doing them, not only are you performing them correctly, but you are doing them with enough pressure to equalise your ears.
Here is a step by step guide to setting your equalisation threshold using the Uba Project Equalisation Tool.
- Turn on the EQ-Tool by depressing the button on the bottom of the device for a few seconds until the light comes on (the light will flash periodically to show it is turned on)
- Connect it to your mobile device via blue tooth
- Adjust the nose ball so it is completely closed (pushed into the device)
- Go into settings and set the profile to ‘Free
- Come back to settings and press the red start button at the bottom right of your screen
- Press the green start button across the bottom of the screen. A timer will now start counting you down
- With the ball of the EQ-Tool sealing one nostril and the other nostril closed, start repeatedly equalising with the MINIMUM amount of pressure needed to clear both ears. Press the red STOP button at the bottom of the screen when you are finished.
- Go into your history (the top left icon of the clock face) and click on the session you have just done. You can then scroll through it by touching your finger to the screen and moving it across the graph. This will tell you the amount of pressure you exerted at any given point. From this you need to deduce the minimum amount of pressure it took you to equalise. This example shows that it took approximately 55 hPa of pressure to equalise the ears. Please note that everyone is very different!
- Go back into settings and go into ‘Set thresholds’. Set the minimum threshold needed to equalise.
- You are now ready to practice equalisation!
How to practice different equalisation techniques using the Uba Project Equalisation Tool
- Go into ‘settings’ and touch ‘set profile’ to select which equalisation technique you would like to practice, for example ‘frenzel’
- Adjust the nose ball in one of the four possible positions. The more the ball is extended, the faster air will leak from the device, simulating a deep dive
- Set equalization thresholds and times (if you haven’t already)
- Place the device on one nostril, plug the other nostril, press the red button at the bottom corner of the screen to start and then begin to equalise
Example graphs using different equalisation techniques
This graph shows a reverse pack followed by many equalisations as there is less and less air available in the mouth. There is a small attempt to pull more air up from the lungs near the end of this session and a last tiny equalisation at the end
This graph shows a massive single massive reverse pack at the beginning of the session and then several frenzel equalisations until there is no more air left.
This graph shows a series of mouthfill equalisations using continuous pressure equalisation followed by two frenzel equalisations at the end without opening the glottis
This graph shows the Frenzel equalisation technique with continuous pressure equalisation
Frenzel with 4 strong reverse packs on empty lungs, note less and less air and stronger reverse packs to access the air
Here is a video showing some of the features of the Uba Project Equalisation Tool and the app.
EarON jellyfish game mode – increase your equalization playing!
The Uba project team recognised that there needs to be fun involved too. So, when they created their app they also included a game mode specifically studied and designed to improve equalizing. It can help you can train your Frenzel, reverse packing or mouthfill.
Pros and Cons of the Uba Project Equalisation Tool
This is the part where I would usually talk about the pros and cons of a device, but I can honestly say, that at present, I can’t think of a con. This device is truly awesome, from an instructor perspective and a user perspective (and regardless of experience too).
The price is on the higher side but for what you get it’s well worth it. Whether you are a complete beginner trying to learn the Frenzel equalisation technique, an advanced freediver learning how to reverse pack for the first time, or a master freediver learning mouthfill equalisation, the Uba Project equalisation tool is for you.
It’s easy to use and set up and you can share the use between you and your dive buddies, or you and your freediving students, setting different thresholds dependent on the person.
It’s also small and light so easy to take with you on your freediving adventures.
Read some reviews from freediving champions of the Uba Project Equalisation Tool
“The Uba Project equalisation tool is a unique tool to improve your equalizing skills: it has been indispensable in my mouthfill learning process!”
Alessia Zecchini – multiple world record holding freediver
“The Uba Project equalisation tool is only device dedicated to equalizing that allows us to measure, compare and educate the sensations of free divers”
Federico Mana – Italian Freediving Champion
“Making equalizing a conscious process is now finally possible, thanks to the small and technological Uba Project equalisation tool.”
Michele Giurgola – multiple record holding Italian Freediver
“The Uba Project equalisation tool is an exceptional tool for learning and perfecting advanced equalizing techniques”
Andrea Zuccari – Multiple freediving record holder
“The Uba Project equalisation tool is absolutely the TOP equipment for training of equalization techniques! We use it a lot for top athletes but also during our courses and training stages for our students!”
Martin Zajac – Freediving World Champion
If a device like this had been available when I first started freediving, it could have saved me a lot of time, energy and above all frustration trying to master what seemed to be the elusive skill of equalisation. Back in 2000 when I first learned to equalise there was no real understanding of how equalisation worked, let of all how to teach it effectively. If I had been able to use the device like the Uba Project Equalisation Tool then I would not have only learned to equalise much more quickly but it would have also prevented me from getting into bad equalisation habits that are now difficult to undo.
I think the Uba Project Equalisation Tool is an indispensable piece of equipment for any freediver. Whether you are a total novice, a freediving instructor or a freediving champion, you’ll get huge benefits from practicing equalisation using the Uba Project EQ tool!
Learn to freedive with Go Freediving!
Go Freediving is the longest established, most experienced and friendliest freediving course provider in the UK, led by world class freediving instructor trainer Emma Farrell, and her team of personally trained instructors. No other course provider has such a good instructor to student ratio, safety record and personal touch.
Whether you’re a beginner dipping your toes into the world of freediving, a seasoned pro looking to turn professional, or simply a freediver of any level who wants the best freediving holiday in the world, we’re here for you!
Also check out our online guide, The Beginners Guide to Freediving by clicking here!
Keep in touch with everything Freediving
Subscribe to our mailing list for weekly newsletters with exclusive articles, news, films, offers and more!