Log in

Welcome to Dive Gear Reviews, a comprehensive guide to scuba diving equipment. Scuba diving is an expensive pursuit, so looking up reviews for a particular article of equipment is a wise precaution before investing any hard-earned money in it. However, consumer reviews may or may not be written by an experienced diver, and magazine reviews could be suspect due to the advertising ties of the publication in question. Dive Gear Reviews provides cross-referenced reviews assembled by an expert, making it possible to see at a glance what multiple sources said about a particular piece of scuba equipment. If one magazine loved a scuba regulator or a dive computer, but the consumers hated it, that information will be found here.

IST Pro Ear 2000 Dive Mask Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on IST Pro Ear 2000 Dive Mask Review Posted in: Below $100, Dive Masks

IST’s Pro Ear 2000 dive mask eliminates ear equalization, and is therefore a must-have item for slow-descending divers with problematic sinuses, ear infections and other problems. The Pro Ear straps a pair of watertight pods over the ears, and these pods are connected to the mask by hoses. Whenever a diver equalizes the pressure on his mask by exhaling through his nose, he automatically equalizes the pressure on his ears as well.

The main thing about the IST is skepticism regarding if the system even works, and if so how well. The only way to get to the bottom of that is by reading what people who actually own and use (or have rented and used) the IST Pro Ear said about it. The feedback from consumers about the Pro Ear, both on dive forums and in consumer commentary, has been overwhelmingly positive.

So the Pro Ear’s system really works, but that said there are some caveats. The fit for the earpods, like the fit of the mask itself, must be solid and the pods must be worn exactly as directed. A bad fit or donning the mask incorrectly will result in leaks, and leaky earpods are much harder to deal with underwater than a leaky mask. However, it must be said that this caveat applies to dive masks in general, as a bad fit will ruin any dive mask. The issue with the IST Pro Ear is that a bad fit here compounds the mask failure. Instead of having to constantly purge a mask to compensate for an annoying leak, a diver is also back to Square One with equalization as well.

A related note about how well the IST Pro Ear works is hair style. As any diver with long hair knows, keeping that hair out of the way is a minor nuisance when donning a dive mask. That applies even more so to the ear pods, and the IST Pro Ear seems to work best with short haircuts, unless you wear a hood all the time (see below).

Another issue that makes Dive Gear Reviews nervous are the earpod hoses. The hoses are sturdy enough, but given how any damage to them ruins the entire system, those hoses make the mask one more piece of gear a diver should never leave unattended. Simply put, you can’t leave an IST Pro Ear mask hanging on your regulator or tucked into a fin’s foot pocket and expect the best. Even so, by buying an IST Pro Ear, a diver expands the role of the mask to ear equalization. That automatically makes the mask worthy of more care and maintenance.

Although it is rarely depicted, the mask comes with fittings on the ear pods for an additional strap running across the top of the head. This greatly improves stability and grip, so adding that top strap as soon as possible is a good idea.

IST also markets a hood for use with the Pro Ear dive mask. The ear pods must necessarily enclose the ears directly to work, so any mask must be fitted under the hood. IST’s hood is made with that purpose in mind. An alternative that some consumers have used is to take a normal hood and cut ear holes in it, with the holes sized so the hood laps over the top of the earpods (much as the front lip of the hood should lap over the top of the mask’s skirt). The idea of cutting a hood in this way is to create more space for the earpods, rather than to place the ears outside the hood.

The only objective downside to the IST Pro Ear is that the range of vision from the mask is merely ordinary. One diver reported getting around that problem by buying the IST Pro Ear, detaching the mask, and then retrofitting his old mask to accept the hoses from the earpods, creating a homemade hybrid.

The IST Pro Ear comes in a variety of formats, with the Pro Ear 2000 representing the top of the line.

Average Price: $90 for the Pro Ear 2000, less for the cheaper versions of this dive mask design.