Many scuba divers have come to accept jaw fatigue after diving as a fact of life. Those divers who are annoyed by their sore jaws generally blame the fit of the regulator mouthpiece for their discomfort. Sometimes an ill-fitting mouthpiece is indeed the culprit, and switching to a different style of mouthpiece may alleviate or prevent jaw ache post dive.
Jaw ache is also caused by a diver clamping his teeth down hard on a regulator mouthpiece to prevent it from pulling out of his mouth. The low pressure hose attached to the regulator second stage has the tendency to pull the mouthpiece uncomfortably to one side. This is caused by the fixed angle of the hose and the regulator second stage in relation to the diver’s mouth. A few divers feel the torque from this angle only when they turn their heads. Most divers, however, experience some degree of pressure on the mouthpiece at all times, causing them to clench their teeth to keep the regulator in their mouths.
What Is a 360º Swivel?
A 360º Swivel Low Pressure Hose Adapter is an accessory that divers use to connect the regulator second stage to the low pressure hose. A ball-like joint in the swivel allows the second stage to rotate 360º in relation to the low pressure hose. Swivels add almost no weight to the regulator. For example, Scuba Max 360º Swivels weigh less a than pound and have no appreciable weight underwater.
A 360º Swivel allows the regulator to rotate in relation to the low pressure hose.
Regulator swivels minimize jaw fatigue by reducing the tension placed on the regulator second stage by the low pressure hose. Because the swivel joint rotates freely, the low pressure hose no longer pulls on the diver’s mouthpiece at an uncomfortable angle. A swivel allows the low pressure hose to sit in a more natural position. A diver using a swivel adaptor can rotate his head freely without additional torque on the mouthpiece.
Air Sharing With a 360º Swivel
Swivel adaptors also make air sharing more comfortable. A mouthpiece and second stage attached to a swivel can be turned a full 180º to face the diver in need of air. A donated regulator sits easily in a diver’s mouth without pulling or twisting. Swivels make air sharing easier and more comfortable for both the regulator donor and the receiver.
Drawbacks of a Regulator Swivel
Adding a 360º Swivel Adapter to a regulator increases its possible failure points. Once a swivel is incorporated into the regulator, air leaks could occur between the low pressure hose and the adapter, and between the adapter and the second stage body. Some divers claim that it is silly to needlessly increase the number of possible failure points of a regulator.
Should You Get a 360º Swivel for Your Regulator?
I had never noticed that my standard regulator attachment fatigued my jaw and limited my head’s range of motion until after I tried a 360º Swivel. I came out of the dive thinking, “Wow! That’s what diving is supposed to feel like.” The increase in my comfort level was remarkable. Divers who have chronic problems with jaw fatigue may find a swivel the key to painless diving.
I am normally an advocate of keeping dive gear as simple as humanly possible, but I am willing to make an exception in the case of 360º Swivels. While adding a swivel to a regulator does increase the number of possible failure points, the comfort and ease of diving with a swivel adapter is worth it!
Thanks to Natalie Gibb of About.com