Published: July 7, 2020
Have you ever been on a commercial airliner or driven through the mountains and dealt with your ears popping? A common question we often receive is, 'does skydiving hurt your ears?' The simple answer is: it is rare that skydiving hurts your ears, but it really depends on the person. To be proactive in ensuring a good experience, here are a few tips about ears and skydiving!
The Science of Ear Popping
To understand if skydiving hurts your ears or if you will feel ear pain after skydiving, let's talk a little bit of science. First, the pressure changes - called barotrauma - is the sensation you feel when your ears feel plugged or clogged. Air is naturally trapped in our middle ear. To equalize the pressure, air is being passed through the middle ear to the throat via the Eustachian tubes - hence the "popping" of our ears. Since our ears, noses and throats are all connected, this explains why things like yawning, chewing gum, or swallowing can help clear your ears.
Does Skydiving Cause Ear Pain
Here's the deal about skydiving ear pain. First, if you have a cold or allergies we recommend not skydiving as this will definitely cause ear pain while skydiving. The drastic pressure changes are intense and can cause injury and in some cases, permanent damage. Since we're being very cautious with COVID-19, we will have to advise those recovering from any sicknesses to reschedule for another day anyway.
Tips on Clearing Your Ears Skydiving
Ok, now we know what causes ear pain from the pressure, but if you're healthy, generally you will not feel ear pain while skydiving. However, even in healthy ears, we are still dealing with altitude changes which causes the pressure in your ears. So here are three tips to clear your ears for skydiving:
Tip #1: Clear your ears by:
- Holding your nose while closing your mouth
- Opening your mouth wide and moving your jaw side to side
Tip #2: Clear your ears on the ride up to jump altitude
Climbing into the skies will feel similar to riding a car up in the mountains. Clearing your ears will help you acclimate and be all ready for freefall.
Tip #3: Clear your ears while in freefall and when the parachute opens
This is the same concept of when free divers dive down in the ocean, clearing their ears to maintain equilibrium. Sometimes it's a little overwhelming to remember during the amazing skydive. Therefore, if you don't clear them in freefall, then definitely clear your ears when things settle down when the parachute opens.
If you have sensitive ears or are prone to allergies, you may want to consult a doctor before making a skydive. Knowing these things ahead of time will help us all better prepare and keep each other safe.
If you're ready to take the skies, give us a call! We're ready to welcome you to this incredible sport!