Skydiving Rarely Causes Ear Discomfort

Most first-time skydivers will not experience any ear or sinus discomfort. However, a small percentage of first time or new skydivers may experience some temporary or minor, ear or sinus discomfort. It is our observation that only about 1 out of 10 jumpers report any ear or sinus sensations from their jump.

These ear or sinus sensations occur when the Eustachian Tube is unable to regulate air pressure between the inner and outer ear due to the rapid rate of air pressure changes in freefall. The resulting symptoms manifest as short-term “stuffy ears” or “muffled hearing”. Such sensations are typically minor and temporary, usually subsiding before landing or shortly afterward.

There are several techniques to prevent or resolve these sensations. If you have a history of inner ear issues, or just general concerns about potential ear discomfort, please advise our staff and your instructor as we can advise on techniques to prevent and resolve the sensations. For information on the physiology, resolution techniques, potential conditions that might predispose someone to experience ear or sinus sensations during their jump, read our in-depth review of the affect on ears from skydiving.

Jumpers that are experiencing illness, or symptoms, that cause congestion are at a risk of more severe discomfort. In extreme and very rare cases, skydiving while experiencing these conditions could cause a ruptured eardrum. Skydive Monterey Bay will not allow those experiencing illness or malaise to jump for your safety and that of our crew. We do not know of anyone that has experienced severe or lasting issues.

If you are experiencing any cold, congestion, flu, Covid-19, or any other illness related symptoms, please call us to reschedule your skydive.  

Ultimately, it is rare to experience these symptoms, and even so, the sensations are typically very minor and temporary. We also have techniques to prevent and resolve these sensations. Unless you are ill, or historically have had ear or sinus related symptoms when flying commercially or driving in the mountains, you should not have any concerns about your ears for skydiving. If so, please call us to discuss your situation.