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Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems

 


jajunk

Oct 21, 2011, 9:01 AM
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Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems Can't Post

Hey

I thought I would start a new thread as I have received a diagnosis which is really a bummer. Thread can be moved as appropriate.

I have pressure issues with my right ear, as I've read a few other ppl do. Basically, I've gone to an ENT specialist, who found I had a slightly deviated septum, which does not warrant surgery. I've been told there is little they can do for my Eustachian tube pressure issues, besides installing tubes, which isn't an option. The Dr. suggested I avoid scuba and skydiving. I mentioned that I skydive, and he then mentioned the tubes, as he's done for pro competitive skydivers in the past. That seemed excessive and a little oldschool. He's very well credentialed, but also an older man who is definitely nearing the end of his career.

Basically my right ear won't clear for often 1-24 hrs after a jump. I have listened to the Skydive Radio episode about this, and am feeling pretty down.

I've done 5 jumps, one being my AFF lvl 1. I am concerned about going more than 1 jump per day while the pressure persists. Not being able to do 3+ jumps per day has definitely effected my progress/confidence, as going wk/wks between doesn't help anything.


I can't accept a diagnosis that I can't jump again. So I have 2 main questions.

1) Has anyone, or is it possible, that with continued jumping I will adapt to the pressure, and it will no longer be a problem?

-- It is not really painful, I simply can't rly hear properly with the right ear until it clears.


2) Is there a way to obtain a license without doing freefall?

-- I'm thinking hop n' pops, or possibly going out at 8-10k instead of 12.5k, after lower altitude training


A 3rd possibility is I've only jumped in the midwest. I only have problems when coming down, I can clear fine going up. I am likely moving to Phoenix for work, so my ground level will change from ~500ft to ~2000. Maybe I will have less pressure issues not going all the way back to near sealevel...


Got the news from the Dr. yesterday, and am rly bummed. Can't accept never going again, and now that the season is done in IL/WI until nxt yr, I can't just sit and stew.


Any and all suggestions/feedback is welcome, even if it's tough sh**, skydiving isn't for you....



EDIT: Does anyone have experience with the aforementioned ear tube procedure?



Thanks!


(This post was edited by jajunk on Oct 21, 2011, 12:13 PM)


BIGUN  (D 23385)

Oct 21, 2011, 9:52 AM
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Re: [jajunk] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I mentioned that I skydive, and he then mentioned the tubes, as he's done for pro competitive skydivers in the past. That seemed excessive and a little old school. He's very well credentialed,

That's called "Experience."

Quote:
but also an older man who is definitely nearing the end of his career.

That's called, "Wisdom."

Help me understand again why you wouldn't consider the corrective surgery by a Doctor who's done it successfully for "Pro Competitive Skydivers" already, when most Doctors don't even know how to address issues specific to skydiving? Not enough piercings or tatts for ya?


(This post was edited by BIGUN on Oct 21, 2011, 9:54 AM)


jajunk

Oct 21, 2011, 10:45 AM
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In reply to:
Quote:
I mentioned that I skydive, and he then mentioned the tubes, as he's done for pro competitive skydivers in the past. That seemed excessive and a little old school. He's very well credentialed,

That's called "Experience."

Quote:
but also an older man who is definitely nearing the end of his career.

That's called, "Wisdom."

Help me understand again why you wouldn't consider the corrective surgery by a Doctor who's done it successfully for "Pro Competitive Skydivers" already, when most Doctors don't even know how to address issues specific to skydiving? Not enough piercings or tatts for ya?


Wow, harsh. Why wouldn't I wanna put tubes in my ears... gee lemme think..

This specific question was brought up in the Skydive Radio episode, where the Dr they were talking to basically called this procedure a knee-jerk reaction of a doctor unfamiliar with skydiving related issues, and said doctor in that episode never recommends this procedure.

The pressure created isn't painful, it's just persistent.


jajunk

Oct 21, 2011, 10:52 AM
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Re: [jajunk] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

This is the Skydive Radio episode in question: http://media.libsyn.com/media/skydiveradio/sr54_08_15_06.mp3

Show #54, August 15th, 2006 - With Dr. Stuart Selkin.


virgin-burner

Oct 22, 2011, 2:59 AM
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Re: [jajunk] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

i have those problems every now and then; a friend of mine has them EVERY time. not that i would recommend it, but i go jumping anyway! Smile


sacex250

Oct 22, 2011, 6:56 AM
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Re: [jajunk] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

Either you're confused by what the doctor told you or he's a quack!

A deviated septum has nothing to do with your Eustachian tubes and would have no effect on clearing your ears. So, either having tubes put in the ears or septum surgery is each a solution to a completely different problem and are not interchangable options.

If you're not feeling any ear pain, I'd say keep jumping on a regular basis, the tubes should get better at clearing on their own.


(This post was edited by sacex250 on Oct 22, 2011, 7:12 AM)


BIGUN  (D 23385)

Oct 22, 2011, 7:34 AM
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Re: [sacex250] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Either you're confused by what the doctor told you or he's a quack!

A deviated septum has nothing to do with your Eustachian tubes and would have no effect on clearing your ears. So, either having tubes put in the ears or septum surgery is each a solution to a completely different problem and are not interchangable options.

If you're not feeling any ear pain, I'd say keep jumping on a regular basis, the tubes should get better at clearing on their own.

I don't think the Doctor was implying the septum had anything to do with the tubes. I read it as two separate issues in the OP, [who found I had a slightly deviated septum, which does not warrant surgery] AND [the tubes as a source of solving the ear pressure problems].


(This post was edited by BIGUN on Oct 22, 2011, 7:35 AM)


jajunk

Oct 22, 2011, 8:55 AM
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Re: [BIGUN] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Either you're confused by what the doctor told you or he's a quack!

A deviated septum has nothing to do with your Eustachian tubes and would have no effect on clearing your ears. So, either having tubes put in the ears or septum surgery is each a solution to a completely different problem and are not interchangable options.

If you're not feeling any ear pain, I'd say keep jumping on a regular basis, the tubes should get better at clearing on their own.

I don't think the Doctor was implying the septum had anything to do with the tubes. I read it as two separate issues in the OP, [who found I had a slightly deviated septum, which does not warrant surgery] AND [the tubes as a source of solving the ear pressure problems].


Bigun is correct, the Dr. did say that surgery on my nose would have no effect on the Eustachian tubes. I also get the experience/wisdom point, the Dr. seemed to personally against scuba / skydiving, and mentioned the tubes in passing. Tubes seem like an extreme solution to me, something I'm not going to pursue.

I'm excited to read that my tubes may get better at equalizing on their own. Like I said, I would say it's more of a plugged feeling that is annoying (as I can't hear properly) more so than painful.

Side note, I've tried to hold my nose and blow under canopy, but that seemed to make it worse. I'm having better luck with opening my jaw style Valsalva maneuver.


sacex250

Oct 22, 2011, 8:57 AM
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Re: [BIGUN] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I don't think the Doctor was implying the septum had anything to do with the tubes. I read it as two separate issues in the OP, [who found I had a slightly deviated septum, which does not warrant surgery] AND [the tubes as a source of solving the ear pressure problems].
The OP stated there was a diagnosis, what's the diagnosis, then?

The problem seems to be that fluid is collecting in the inner ear during free fall as ambient pressure increases because the air is forcing whatever fluid or mucus is in the Eustachian tube into the ear. Like the OP says, there's no problem when ascending because the air is moving away from the ear and into the throat.

If there's not a significant amount of pain then it's not a pressure problem it's a fluid problem, like when someone has a cold. The ears get stuffy because the Eustacian tubes and ears get filled with fluid and mucus and can't be cleared. Putting in ear tubes doesn't cure the problem; it only cures a symptom while adding a plethora of new risks from hearing loss, infection, perforated ear drums, water intrusion, etc.

The solution to the problem is to get the Eustachian tubes cleared out so that air, and only air, moves through them. It's likely that jumping on a regular basis will fix the problem automatically as the tubes will get "flushed" routinely.

Another solution could be to take a cold medicine with an antihistimine a couple hours before jumping (watch out for dizzy and drowsy) and see if that helps clear the fluid out before the jump.

Another solution could be just to go flying with somebody and have them do multiple ascents and descents to see how the ears respond.

When I started flying, I remember my ears and lower jaw being sore after my early flights which went away after several lessons. The Eustacian tubes are asked to work harder when they have to move more air more often, something that isn't noticed when we spend most of our lives at one altitude.


jajunk

Oct 22, 2011, 9:03 AM
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Re: [sacex250] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

@sacex250

Thank you soooo much! This was exactly the kind of response I was looking for, and reminded me of a critical point:

maybe due to my deviated septum / allergies, my nose generally has snot in it all year long. Not necessarily in the nasal cavity, but I can generally blow something out with relative ease. I have never had an allergy test, but I would say my nose "runs all year".

I have tried taking a Claritin like pill on my way to the DZ. I've only tried that once, and can't rly say if it would have an effect with prolonged use. I didn't notice much of a difference in that one trial.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Oct 22, 2011, 3:45 PM
Post #11 of 19 (1383 views)
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Re: [jajunk] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

"
In reply to:
... The Dr. suggested I avoid scuba and skydiving. I mentioned that I skydive, and he then mentioned the tubes, as he's done for pro competitive skydivers in the past. That seemed excessive and a little old-school. He's very well credentialed, but also an older man who is definitely nearing the end of his career. ...
"

.........................................................................

Funny!
I recall a conversation with a retired heart surgeon who took up skydiving. he said that the best surgeons were about 45 years old, because they were still learning, but their eye sight had not begun to fade.

As for a doctor telling you to err on the side of caution ... he just wants your repeat business.
Hah!
Hah!


Joellercoaster  (D 105792)

Oct 24, 2011, 3:23 AM
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Re: [jajunk] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

Although some people are seeming to advise that you "just jump" because it'll probably be OK, I've had two friends rupture eardrums skydiving this year alone, and another friend be rendered unable to stand up for 24 hours due to inner ear craziness in a previous season. They all jumped with minor ear blockages, and might have been fine - but they weren't.

If you're not sure about your doctor's opinion, get another doctor's opinion. You might well be fine jumping, but it would suck a lot to be wrong and find out the hard way, and we here simply aren't the right people to ask.


Fast  (D 28237)

Oct 24, 2011, 9:50 AM
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Re: [jajunk] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

If you want to keep skydiving find a doctor that can figure out what exactly the problem is. Pick a new ENT or find a doctor that understands aviation. Maybe an aviation medical examiner could point you in the right direction.

If you're on here, asking medical advice, from people who aren't doctors, the only person you have to blame if you get seriously hurt is yourself.


jajunk

Oct 24, 2011, 1:50 PM
Post #14 of 19 (1239 views)
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Re: [Fast] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
If you want to keep skydiving find a doctor that can figure out what exactly the problem is. Pick a new ENT or find a doctor that understands aviation. Maybe an aviation medical examiner could point you in the right direction.

If you're on here, asking medical advice, from people who aren't doctors, the only person you have to blame if you get seriously hurt is yourself.

I definitely see your point. As to the post above, the blockage occurs during decent, I wouldn't get in the plane with a blockage ahead of time.

I'm thinking I'll try to use the offseason to see an allergist, figure out my constant mild congestion. Once that's resolved, see if not having anything in my nose/sinuses improves or even fixes my pressure issues.


Genego  (D 10375)

Oct 28, 2011, 9:19 PM
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Re: [jajunk] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

Having a deviated septum, allergies, and nasal polyps, I can relate to being "snotty" a lot. You might consider the possibility that you have a sinus infection contributing to the situation. I was prescribed a 3 week course of antibiotics, along with 5 days of prednisone to reduce acute swelling and flonase to control chronic swelling. All of this improved drainage and I don't have the feeling that my head is full of snot all the time. Also you should take Claritin several hours before jumping. It takes at least an hour to start providing relief.


captain_stan

Oct 29, 2011, 8:19 AM
Post #16 of 19 (1091 views)
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Re: [jajunk] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
2) Is there a way to obtain a license without doing freefall?

-- I'm thinking hop n' pops, or possibly going out at 8-10k instead of 12.5k, after lower altitude training

You've just described the static line and IAD training methods which may be available to you as close as East Troy, WI. Back in the day, static line was the standard. I earned my A license w/o exceeding 10,000' AGL and still graduate A-license holders that way to this day w/ IAD method. As an instructor, I think a program could be tailored to achieve this from 8000' AGL if necessary--it would just take more jumps to get the working time. If you found that you couldn't exceed hop-&-pop altitude w/o discomfort, you could dedicate your efforts to canopy control, accuracy, and swooping after earning your license, hoping for a medical improvent later. I'm having all the fun I can stand on a retirement budget, usually buying a lift to only 3-4K' unless I'm training a student.

Quote:
1) Has anyone, or is it possible, that with continued jumping I will adapt to the pressure, and it will no longer be a problem?

In static line or IAD training, you could start jumping from 3500' and work your way up to higher altitudes as your condition permitted, meaning more canopy time in the beginning to let you have some fun while you are "testing the waters."

Best of luck & keep looking for a creative solution.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Nov 1, 2011, 5:37 AM
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Re: [jajunk] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm confused as to your thinking that tubes are too extreme of a fix.

IF tubes are a real solution to the problem, I see no reason not to have it done. It's quick and simple and not a major ordeal.

Tubes in the ears is far from uncommon. Many, many kids have it done.


hokierower  (B 36150)

Nov 1, 2011, 10:48 AM
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Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

Hope you can find a solution and keep jumping. I had some sinus blockage all yesterday which really sucked. It was my first time with it while skydiving and I didn't know how it would affect me. During the climb to altitude and after I was on the ground it was pretty uncomfortable, not to mention last night when I had to fly home on Delta.


roostnureye  (D 32166)

Nov 1, 2011, 4:00 PM
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Re: [hokierower] Alternative Licensing Options / Pressure Problems [In reply to] Can't Post

i am deaf in my left ear and have had issues with clearing it, try clearing them under canopy multiple times, and eat some sudafed, (the good stuff) that they make you sign your life away to get. i had tubes in my ears as a kid and its really not that bad, just dont get water in them! the best advice has been offered, go to a skydiving ENT doc! another thing that has helped me in severe circumstances is actually massaging the estrucian tube, its under your ear and goes twords your jaw bone then down. you can push on it and hear pressure changes especially if it is blocked. give it a try with the sudafed and clearing under canopy.



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