I went scuba diving for the first time a week ago. I had trouble equalizing my ears during the dive and ever since, my ears have been blocked and won’t clear. How can I get them to return to normal?
I’ve tried sinus rinses and even visited the doctor who told me to take some decongestant, but my nose is not blocked and I have no cold-like symtoms. My ears just won’t pop.

Since you had trouble equalizing you probably did some trauma to the tissues surrounding the middle ear or the eustachian tubes leading from the middle ear to your airway. Unless there was permanent damage, it will just take some time for the tissues to heal. A week sounds like a long time to still be having problems, but if you have been continuing to try to force your ears to equalize you might be still be irritating the damaged tissues and slowing healing.

Normally I would suggest that you see a doctor, but you’ve already done that. My opinion is that you should just give your ears a rest without trying to equalize for a couple more days and see if they start to improve on their own. If not, you might want to step it up a notch and go see an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist for a more detailed exam on your ears. You can also try calling the Diver’s Alert Network non-emergency medical line at 1-800-446-2671 (assuming you are in the USA) to get an opinion from a medical technician or doctor trained in dive medicine.

Another over the counter medication you might want to try is ibuprofen, which can help reduce swelling of the tissue in your ears.

Good luck.