Sometimes you gotta scratch your nose. Or you need to perform the Valsalva maneuver (close your nose and mouth, then blow hard) to help make your ears "pop". If you can flip your helmet open, great -- just use your fingers on your nose. But if your helmet is closed, then you need another solution.

Does the SpaceX suit have anything to help with nose-scratching or the Valsalva maneuver?

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  • $\begingroup$ It's pretty easy to perform the Valsalva action without using your hands. Takes a little practice but I bet any wind-instrument player can do it first try. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 23, 2020 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe: Spelling fixed, thanks. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 1:28

1 Answer 1


As long as air pressure is constant or decreasing a Valsalva maneuver is not needed.

Experienced divers know other methods to equalize their ears without closing their nose by hand when they descend in water and increase the pressure around them. Those methods are yawning, swallowing, the Frenzel maneuver and Voluntary opening of the eustachian tubes, see Ear clearing. The Valsalva maneuver is only the most popular one but not the only one.

During a normal flight of a DragonX capsule to ISS and back to Earth, the air pressure is constant at 1 bar and equalizing ears is not needed. An emergency pressure drop within the capsule requires no Valsalva maneuver.

But when the astronauts return from low suit pressure of about 0.4 bar to normal pressure of 1 bar equalisation of their ears is neccessary and may be done using the other methods besides Valsalva.

  • $\begingroup$ "Those methods are yawning, swallowing, the Frenzel maneuver and Voluntary opening of the eustachian tubes, see Ear clearing." => That isn't correct (I say that as a very experienced scuba and free diver). Only very very few people can do BVT, the only one which works without nose pinching. Frenzel requires nose pinching (freedivers use a nose clip to avoid bringing their hand up). $\endgroup$
    – ChrisR
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 22:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Upvoted, as you provide some useful information. However, without directly answering what the SpaceX suit provides, I'm withholding the checkmark. Nor does it tell us anything about nose-scratching. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ @DrSheldon Unfortunately there is not much information about the SpaceX suit available. So I cant answer about nose scratching or pressing. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 10:09

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