How to Unblock Your Ears After Skydiving

Monday, January 30, 2023

If you’re wondering how to unblock ears after skydiving then you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re getting a case of the pre-jump jitters after committing to your first tandem skydive or still in the debating phase of going for it, don’t let the fear of ear pressure add to the stress. Let’s jump into the dos and don’ts of dealing with blocked ears when you’re jumping from an airplane! 

How Do You Unpop Your Ears After a Flight?

We, humans, are made to stay on the ground (thanks a lot, gravity), but with the invention of the airplane, and later the parachute system, we are able to soar through the skies whenever our little hearts desire. Flying puts our ears – which are our primary equalizers – to the ultimate test by taking us to unnatural altitudes. When our ears aren’t able to keep up with the speed of the aircraft or the velocity of the skydive, we need to help them out a bit. Here are our top four methods to unpop your ears after flying:

  1. Let’s get to Valsalva-ing! The Valsalva method is the most commonly used technique to unblock ears. Simply pinch your nose shut, keep your mouth closed and “blow” the air out of your ears. When done correctly, you’ll hear a nice squeaky and airy sound along with a nice release of built-up pressure.
  2. Practice the Toynbee. The Toynbee maneuver is a little bit trickier than the Valsalva method because it can’t be done until you land after your skydive. To clear your ears using this way, get some water in your mouth, pinch your nose, then swallow the water. It’ll feel kinda funky but should do the trick! If you don’t have any drinks handy, you can try to pinch your nose and swallow, which will mimic the maneuver.
  3. Wiggle, wiggle! Dropping your jaw and wiggling it all around can work wonders on popping your ears. We aren’t doctors by any means, but from what we can tell, throwing a little Elvis hip-wiggle into your jaw allows your eustachian tube (the tube in your ear that helps your equilibrium) to “move” and release any pressure that’s pent up in there. 
  4. Yaaaaawnnnnn! Did that come through the screen? Sorry! Yawning can pretty much do the same thing as the jaw wiggle, try it out if you can’t shake the head pressure. 

skydiving altitudeThe air pressure that is unique to each altitude you’ll fall through may not affect you at all! However, if you are someone who feels the need to get that sweet relief of un-popping your ears while driving through the hills or riding a steep roller-coaster, these tips will definitely help your skydiving experience be more enjoyable. Most skydivers have to unblock their ears to some extent on every skydive, it becomes second nature and has become such a prominent part of our regular routine to the point that we don’t even think twice about unlocking those bad boys! 

Can Skydiving Damage Your Ears?

Don’t freak out … skydiving does hold the potential to cause ear damage, but it is rare and typically preventable. Every-day skydivers have a higher chance of having hearing issues due to not protecting their hearing holes from the high decibels of the engine rather than from the constant pressure changes. In order to avoid damaging your ears while skydiving it is recommended that hearing protection be worn on the plane – this is advised for people who skydive all the time, one time without earplugs will be fine, but you can definitely bring them if you want! 

If you’re more worried about the pressure posed on your ears while jumping and are asking, “Can your eardrums burst while skydiving?” The answer is, unfortunately, yes – cue the screams!!! Let’s not jump to conclusions here, as long as you’re not jumping despite having some unresolved sinus pressure or an ear infection, you should be just fine. 

When we’re sick, our tubes can’t equalize … like, at all. They’re basically checked out and on a beach drinking a mai-tai laughing at you as you hurtle through the sky. So, if you have a head cold or something of that nature, we highly recommend rescheduling your skydive and avoiding a painful potential puncture of the eardrum. 

Why Are My Ears Still Blocked After Skydiving?

does skydiving hurt your ears

Although it’s super rare to not be able to fully clear them after landing, your ears may need an extra push to get back to themselves after going through such an awesome experience! Don’t worry. If our tips and tricks didn’t provide you any relief and you’re still a bit off-balance and unable to hear just right after some time, it’s time to see a doc! There are more involved techniques made to resolve ear pressure that we simply aren’t qualified to get into – we’re just people who jump out of planes for a living, give us a break! 

Our ears are pretty resilient and can overcome some serious stuff! If you’re still trippin’ about whether or not they can handle the thrill of jumping from a plane, consult with your doctor, and as always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any other questions or concerns!