IST Pro Ear or the Pro Ear 2000 review and test.

Pro Ear 2000 or IST Pro Ear Diving Mask for dry ears

Basically this is sort of same product, they are just sold in different names around the world. Initially I bought the Pro Ear 2000 on the French border to Switzerland where I live.

It was the clear silicon one and sold under the brand ProEear 2000. When I arrived in Thailand one of the Englishmen had one under the brand IST ProEar in Black Silicon.

The issue was that when I bought it they just had this one in the shop and supply was quite limited, and I haven't used a clear silicon mask in years. So I went for it only to swap with him after a couple of days. He liked the additional brightness of the clear silicon. Thing I didn't like since I found to have more reflection on the mask when diving, especially on shallow dives with lots of light. Then adding the camera view finder that is quite small made it even harder for me with all the reflection.

But I think this is a different debate and is certainly very personal to what you find more comfortable. The last I might add about this is that the Black silicon felt slightly smoother. But the mask really has the same built and I don't think there is a reason to have the one over the other.

Why did I go for this product in the first place? Well I am quite prone to ear infections, and diving holidays where generally followed by middle ear infections. When you are diving your ears are getting soaked for many hours, washing the ear out. By doing so, removing the protective film in the ear. I then realized that after about 2-3 days of diving my ear got very sensitive to wind. But I let you imagine how hard it is on a dive boat to be out of the wind all the time. One of my doctors told me that if I want to get rid of that problem I should stop diving... not really an option at this stage for me.

So I tried the rinsing with freshwater, drying the ear after the dive, alcohol and vinegar mix. But it never really worked. My brother mentioned this mask already many years ago and I finally decided that for the 4 month I'll be diving in a row I want to have the best chances to not have an ear infection every two weeks.

What do they look like?

Pro Ear 2000 or IST Pro Ear Diving Mask for dry ears

Pro Ear 2000 or IST Pro Ear Diving Mask for dry ears

Well there is mask as you would be used to it, and it has additional two cups for the ears. These are connected to the mask by small tubes. This makes it a closed circuit at ambient pressure. So you don't have the problem of pressure as you would have with ear plugs that can't be used for diving.

To get to the immediate question, do you ears stay dry? I would say usually yes. It is a bit like with a normal mask, you might once in a while get a bit water in it. But at the end of the dive my ears might be wet like if I had taken a quick shower and not soaked for hours. And the more I dive with it, the easier it gets to clear the mask and to keep it from folding in the first place. I do have a short hair cut, but it seems that it can still provide an effective seal over some hair. But here everyone is different so a try might be necessary.

This brings to the second answer; yes you can clear the era pieces if you have to take your mask off. And how easier can you fit the mask? Well I did my Divemaster course with it most of the time and when we had to demonstrate mask replacement it worked really nicely, it seemed to me actually that it is easier to put in place underwater as it is on the surface. You will then need a bit of time to clear the ear pieces, and this takes some training. You will find the right technique that works out best for you after a while.

As I just wrote, I did most of my course with this mask. There is however a change on the hearing quality. On the surface people will have to speak up to you or else you won't be able to hear them clearly. On the other hand this changes once you are underwater, it feels noisier at first. But now I'm not sure it really is, it just feels different. What is truly improved is your directional hearing underwater. Since sound travels faster underwater is quite hard to guess from where the sound comes from, the brain doesn't have the time to get it. I recon the little air bubble created in the ear pieces improve that. I am now usually capable of hearing from where a boat is coming from or to find the boat based on hearing quite easily.

And the last thing, does it help to equalize? My direct answer is, if you dive many times yes it probably will. But my guess is that this is not due to the construction of the mask but simply that when you dive with is over a period of time your ear are simply less stressed by water, bacteria or cold water. A healthy ear will equalize with no trouble.
Final thoughts... My only regret with this mask is that I didn't buy it earlier; it would have saved me some very painful experiences on holidays. I have now been diving over two month and my ear feels good, there might still be some stress on them due to pressure changes but I never had pain nor did I have to skip a day of diving because of my ears. Some people don't get ear infection at all despite diving for very long periods; unfortunately I am not one of them. And if you too are one of those that have to take extra care for your ears, don't hesitate to give this mask a try I would not trade for something else.

And there the link for you to the manufacturer: ProEar2000