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Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall?

 

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GAjumper84  (A License)

Dec 27, 2013, 5:47 PM
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Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? Can't Post

So I started out in an IAD program, but now am jumping at full altitude. Ever since my first full altitude jump, my ears seem to get stopped up after freefall. It impairs my hearing for the remainder of the day (or two), and eventually goes away. It is not painful, just annoying as it feels like I am underwater. My ears do pop on the way to altitude, which I would imagine is normal with rapid ascent. An instructor suggested it could be due to sinuses being stopped up, but I have taken OTC medication and jumped with everything completely clear and had the same issue. Has this happened to anyone on here before? If so, what causes it and how did you fix it? My next step is to go to the doctor to see what they say, but since everyone here on DZ has experience skydiving I thought maybe someone else had run into this issue. Thanks in advance for any advice.


GLIDEANGLE  (D 30292)

Dec 27, 2013, 5:55 PM
Post #2 of 29 (4032 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

It is not uncommon.

It happens to me on EVERY full altitude freefall. The cure for me is to CAREFULLY blow air back into my middle ears... AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. If I wait too long the tissues in my ear start to swell and the obstruction becomes a multi-day affair. Depending on circumstances, I can often clear my ears undedr canopy. Sometimes, I have to wait until I am on the ground.

There are multiple ways to clear your ears... Google for "clearing ears" to learn techniques. Gentle is the key.... strong or sudden efforts can injure your ears.


Lukasz_Se  (A License)

Dec 27, 2013, 6:53 PM
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had similar issues during my AFF but it got better with time. It did not last as long as for you though, what helped me was blowing air through my nose while holding it shut with my fingers on the way to alltitude. I often do that only once when we are on final. Now days it happens only sometimes when I haven't jumped for a longer period of time.


PiLFy  (A License)

Dec 28, 2013, 3:54 AM
Post #4 of 29 (3805 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's common, & should improve w/time. My Ears don't equalize well. They get wonky w/the first jump of the day, & sometimes stay wonky until I'm done. That's usually when the pollen count is through the roof. I've found the prescription nasal spray Astelin to be very helpful when it gets troublesome, btw. It's a steroid, but doesn't go systemic. It's perfectly safe.

Your ears should become accustomed to the sport, w/time. Until then, just be happy it doesn't cause you pain. It can, & isn't pleasant.


lyosha  (A License)

Dec 28, 2013, 6:23 AM
Post #5 of 29 (3734 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

GAjumper84 wrote:
So I started out in an IAD program, but now am jumping at full altitude. Ever since my first full altitude jump, my ears seem to get stopped up after freefall. It impairs my hearing for the remainder of the day (or two), and eventually goes away. It is not painful, just annoying as it feels like I am underwater. My ears do pop on the way to altitude, which I would imagine is normal with rapid ascent. An instructor suggested it could be due to sinuses being stopped up, but I have taken OTC medication and jumped with everything completely clear and had the same issue. Has this happened to anyone on here before? If so, what causes it and how did you fix it? My next step is to go to the doctor to see what they say, but since everyone here on DZ has experience skydiving I thought maybe someone else had run into this issue. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Tightly close your nose with your fingers and blow (pressurize ears from inside... no air should be escaping while you do this or you're doing it wrong).

Used to be real bad for me. First student jump couldn't hear the radio... lol Jumping with a sore throat/runny nose/a cold will make it worse too, as will later dives in the day.

Got cleared up by jump 20 for me and last few so long as I don't have a sore throat it's fine. So hang in there, your ears do adjust.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Dec 28, 2013, 8:56 AM
Post #6 of 29 (3671 views)
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Re: [lyosha] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

lyosha wrote:

Tightly close your nose with your fingers and blow (pressurize ears from inside... no air should be escaping while you do this or you're doing it wrong).
called the Valsava

Quote:
Used to be real bad for me. First student jump couldn't hear the radio... lol Jumping with a sore throat/runny nose/a cold will make it worse too, as will later dives in the day.

Got cleared up by jump 20 for me and last few so long as I don't have a sore throat it's fine. So hang in there, your ears do adjust.
I never have trouble with it unless I've had a cold. Sudafed is a good, non drowsy drug to keep the sinuses clear. The FAA approves it for pilots and controllers, so I figure it's safe for jumping too.


chuteless  (D 41)

Dec 28, 2013, 1:15 PM
Post #7 of 29 (3589 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

NO PROBLEM> I always had my ears on when we took off, and they stayed on till the jump was over. Try crazy glue.


dzswoop717  (D 9277)

Dec 29, 2013, 8:45 AM
Post #8 of 29 (3418 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

My brother had extreme pain in his ears back in the early ninties. He started wearing earplugs and his problem was solved. I don't know if this is a recommended procedure but it has worked for him for over 20 years and a couple thousand jumps.


payload  (B 39297)

Dec 29, 2013, 1:40 PM
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Re: [Lukasz_Se] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

You should not do the valsalva while climbing because that will increase the air pressure in your middle ear, only making the situation worse. As we climb, ambient air pressure is reduced. This means the air pressure in your middle ear becomes higher relative to the air pressure outside your eardrum. During climb, you can yawn and/or swallow to allow air in your middle ear to escape via your eustachian tubes. This will equalize air pressure in your middle ear with the pressure outside your eardrum.

During descent, the opposite is true. So the valsalva is appropriate when landing with the plane or after landing from a jump. In that case, you want to increase air pressure in your middle ear to equalize with the higher ambient air pressure on the ground. I find yawning just as effective for this though. And yawning is safer because you're not forcing air into your middle ear that way.

The same principle applies to scuba diving but the pressure differences there are much much greater than for flying.


GAjumper84  (A License)

Dec 29, 2013, 4:45 PM
Post #10 of 29 (3250 views)
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Re: [GLIDEANGLE] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for all the good advice! I figured this problem was not unique to just me, and now I know how to deal with it. I'm jumping on New years day and will try out the technique that most of you recommended.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Dec 29, 2013, 6:44 PM
Post #11 of 29 (3217 views)
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Re: [chuteless] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

I prefer nails.


jumpsalot-2  (D 33093)

Dec 29, 2013, 7:16 PM
Post #12 of 29 (3194 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

You should clear many times on the way to altitude and again many times "during" freefall. It's easy. When you swallow, can you hear a crackling in your ears ? That's going to clear them. You should be able to make the crackling noise by moving the muscles near your ears, without swallowing. If I can do it, you can do it. Jumping with nasal blockage, or a cold is never recommended.


CaptnCrunch  (B 39625)

Dec 30, 2013, 7:57 AM
Post #13 of 29 (3054 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey, being a new Jumper and also a paramedic / Flight Attendant, here is a good one:
Buy a bottle of AFRIN and CVS/Wallgreens, i prefer the
Menthol one in the "Squeeze bottle"
Take a hit before you Jump into both nostrilles, it will clear the little path between NOSE and EARS and you will have a MUCH better time ,-)
We give these single use Afrins to Babys that have always a problem on the Plane to do the pressurething.
Try it - it is SO MUCH BETTER !


Cutaway68  (D 29478)

Dec 31, 2013, 6:03 AM
Post #14 of 29 (2885 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

As others have stated, the Valsalva maneuver is a good technique. It is used in SCUBA diving to relieve the pressure from the water that increases as you descend (same thing is happening to skydivers, just on a smaller scale).

I recommend starting the Valsalva technique just before exit (as soon as the red light comes on is a good cue to do it, as long as you don't have other responsibilities) , it will give you a head start. While you can do it in freefall or under canopy, make sure you do not fixate on this and neglect more important tasks.

Another technique to use in conjunction with this is to push your tongue to the roof of your mouth and swallow at the same time. Alternating these two usually helps clear most peoples ears rather quickly.

Definitely talk to your local instructors. If you try these and still have trouble, consult a doctor.


Lukske  (B License)

Jan 1, 2014, 11:57 AM
Post #15 of 29 (2756 views)
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Re: [Cutaway68] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had the same problem.... went to see my doctor and he removed a ''plug'' of earwax. this is just done by using a syringe with hot water. he told me to stop using earsticks to clean my ears as they push the wax deeper in the ear. problem solved after that.


GAjumper84  (A License)

Jan 1, 2014, 6:55 PM
Post #16 of 29 (2624 views)
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Re: [Cutaway68] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

Did 4 jumps today using the Valsalva teqhnique you all recommended. Worked like a charm! Thanks for the help!


DrDom  (Student)

Jan 2, 2014, 4:07 PM
Post #17 of 29 (2464 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

There are actually several but I like Valsalva myself

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ear_clearing

some great ones there.
I usually do it when my canopy gets open and then again on the ground.

The relief feels so nice...


GoHuskers  (C 41540)

Jan 2, 2014, 5:11 PM
Post #18 of 29 (2438 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

Chewing gum helps as well. It keeps the jaw moving which is a very gentle way to valsalva. If you valsalva too hard you will eventually perf your TM or vagal out. Chewing gum does the same thing but on a longer timeline.

I live in central texas so pollen, allergies, and congestion are more common than not. Sudafed helps, real sudafed (i.e. pseudoephedrine) not phenylephrine. Phenylephrine isn't even good enough to get cooked into methWink Afrin really works too but I'm not sure if that applies to pure TM change in pressure issues so much as congestion.


GAjumper84  (A License)

Feb 24, 2014, 10:19 PM
Post #19 of 29 (1940 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just wanted to update the people who replied and helped me, as well as potentially help someone else who has the same problem I did.

After trying out many different methods to no avail on the next several jumps I went to the doctor and described my situation. He gave me a prescription for a nasal spray. He told me to shoot it straight down my nose (instead of up the nose. This worked great! He told me to only use it on skydiving days, Anyway, worked for me, hopefully someone else one day.


superbudweiser

Feb 24, 2014, 11:22 PM
Post #20 of 29 (1907 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

My doctor told me to use the Afrin right before climbing in the plane. He was a fighter jet pilot from Viet Nam to Desert Storm. He told me that there was a pocket in the flight suit on his bicep to carry this Afrin. When he had problems equalizing he would use the sprays to open up the Eustachian tubes. The problems I had, I just had tubes put in my ears to fix it. With a hole in the eardrum there is no equalizing to deal with. You cant swim with the tubes, but you jump as much as you like and there is no problem. There is only pain on the way down normally for most skydivers. Chewing gum or using mints on the way up causes yourself to swallow and to have saliva to swallow which is the normal way to open your Eustachian tubes to equalize. PET's or Pressure Equalization Tubes can fix the problem for short terms unless you have your doctor insert the T-tubes which should last from 1 to 4 years before your eardrum ejects them naturally.


DrDom  (Student)

Feb 25, 2014, 9:19 AM
Post #21 of 29 (1776 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

GAjumper84 wrote:
Just wanted to update the people who replied and helped me, as well as potentially help someone else who has the same problem I did.

After trying out many different methods to no avail on the next several jumps I went to the doctor and described my situation. He gave me a prescription for a nasal spray. He told me to shoot it straight down my nose (instead of up the nose. This worked great! He told me to only use it on skydiving days, Anyway, worked for me, hopefully someone else one day.

phenylephrine I assume; its a good idea. If you want a more long term solution you could even use Flonase (Fluticasone) daily.


PiLFy  (A License)

Feb 25, 2014, 3:57 PM
Post #22 of 29 (1654 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

Astelin or Flonase?


GAjumper84  (A License)

Feb 26, 2014, 6:39 AM
Post #23 of 29 (1541 views)
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Re: [PiLFy] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

Flonase


PiLFy  (A License)

Feb 26, 2014, 2:52 PM
Post #24 of 29 (1448 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

GAjumper84 wrote:
Flonase

I'm glad it's working for you. I've tried that, & it doesn't do a thing for me. Feels like saline. Astelin works much better for me.


LyraM45  (B 26378)

Feb 26, 2014, 4:04 PM
Post #25 of 29 (1385 views)
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Re: [GAjumper84] Anyone else ever have an issue with their ears after freefall? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always had fun ear/nose/throat issues all my life. When I first started jumping my ears would always get all stuffy and I would have trouble hearing the rest of the day-- very much the same as you. Same after I fly commercially and my ears would get full during the descent and then I couldn't hear right for a few days. At the time I would just try to yawn and if that didn't work, then I was screwed.

Few years later I finally learned how to valsalva when I started to fly and use it a LOT when I scuba dive. Now I just grab my nose and blow gently after I'm under canopy and it usually gets the jobs done. Same when I fly. And if it doesn't work or gets painful to clear, then I've probably got a little cold or allergy inflammation and shouldn't be jumping at all.


ETA-- I should have read all the responses before posting mine, because it seems like everybody suggested valsalva already! Anywho, my post is another vote for valsava I guess! :)


(This post was edited by LyraM45 on Feb 26, 2014, 4:08 PM)


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