Skydiving itself is a risky activity and skydivers are always advised to take certain precautions. However, most skydivers don’t actively work to safeguard themselves against hearing damage and other ear related problems that can come with this adventurous hobby.

First and foremost, the planes used to take people to altitudes are not pressurized like commercial airliners. Owing to this, they tend to be much noisier than commercial airliners. So if you skydive regularly, it is imperative to invest in a good set of ear plugs that are either custom – fitted or conform to your ears when you place them since the ride down can be particularly bumpy and windy.

Have it in mind that falling at 120 miles an hour through the sky is nearly as loud as being in the plane. If you are doing a tandem dive, you will not be able to hear your partner since the wind will cover up the sound of your voice. Therefore, ear plugs are a good addition to help protect your ears against noise related hearing loss, and will not block out any other important sounds – since the wind will already be doing that.

During skydiving and just like diving underwater, you’ll experience a rapid change in pressure as you descend toward the earth. Reports have it that people had nearly a 20 percent difference in ear pressure before and after a jump.

This is a potential problem since air pressure against your eardrums decreases as quickly as you ascend, but the pressure inside your ears can remain the same. According to experts, this can lead to your eardrum bulging outward, making sounds appear muffled or your ears to feel stuffy. The opposite occurs after you jump, which is usually not a problem but can cause issues in some situations.

Note that once you have damaged the lining of your inner ears, there is nothing that can be done to bring it back. There is no medication to bring your old ears back – nor is there a surgery that sets things straight. Hearing loss that is attributable to skydiving happens because of damage to the cilia of the inner ear. Once they can’t wiggle anymore, it is over. They don’t bounce back.

That is why skydivers wear earplugs from gear-up to landing. Some take them out for freefall; others take them out for the canopy ride. It is your responsibility as a skydiver to find out what works for you and allows you to reliably receive information. It takes some discipline to remember, but it will help you in the long run. Try keeping a pair taped to your altimeter to help you remember to put them in.

What are the Best Earplugs for Skydiving?

Note that you don’t need expensive earplugs to skydive. The drugstore cheapies will do. When you place them, you just have to make sure they are snug – but that you can still feel them move around when you slide your jaw around (so you can equalize pressure, if necessary). Here are top five earplugs to consider.

  1. Vibes High Fidelity Ear Plugs

This set from Vibes is a wonderful all – around choice for a lot of different users, from festival – goers to musicians to skydivers and sleeping. The key point with any earplug is actually how much sound is attenuated, and at up to 22 dB of padding, these Vibes plugs provide some of the most dramatic reduction seen throughout the field.

These earplugs also put in some proprietary filtering that they claim will offer a more well – rounded frequency spectrum, not subject to the usual muffly high – end attenuation of more standard earplugs. The outside of this plug is made of a firm polycarbonate plastic that should hold up to a good amount of wear and tear.

They makers also included three different sizes of comfortable silicone tips so you can make sure they fit snugly in your ears. In addition, they provide a low – profile design, so you will look most natural with them in. They come with a hard carrying case, so they will be a great thing to throw into your skydiving bag.

  1. Loop Earplugs

Although no universal earplug will reduce different sounds as evenly as a custom design, the Loop pair offers solid noise protection and is the most enjoyable to wear. When compared with cheap foam earplugs, which are designed to block all sounds, a good pair of universal – fit earplugs like the Loop Earplugs will provide a light – years – better listening experience, allowing you to hear noises and voices at a safer level.

Note that these earplugs are comfortable to wear for an extended time and come with enough tips (six pairs) to fit nearly every ear shape. Even though some other competitors offered higher levels of noise protection, they either fit uncomfortably or sounded too muffled.

But this Loop earplug provides solid protection, will stay in place through skydiving and workouts, and have a discreet design that does not protrude from your ear. The zippered carrying pouch is tiny enough to fit in the smallest pocket, and you can also include a keychain attachment so it would be harder to lose.

  1. Mpow Foam Ear Plugs

With all the research and development with the rest of the earplugs on this list, it is easy to skip over the simplest solution: foam, expandable earplugs. Note that even those squishy things you shoved into your ear during shop class have some interesting features to consider, and while the offerings from Mack’s are commonly seen in most drugstores, this set from Mpow is skydivers favourite. For around $10, you get 60 pairs of high quality, hygienic earplugs that are perfect in a pinch.

Note that these plugs will attenuate about 34 dB of sound, and they will admittedly muffle things a bit. But the pack comes with a keychain carrying case and with a tub of 60; they will be perfect to keep in your skydiving bag or to have on – hand as a backup to your main earplugs.

  1. Decibullz Professional High Fidelity Earplugs

This pair conforms to fit the toughest ear shapes, and it offers more noise protection with a slightly clearer sound than many of the universal earplugs available. If most universal earplugs don’t fit you correctly but you don’t want to spend several hundred dollars on custom earplugs, the Decibullz Professional High Fidelity Earplugs find a good middle ground in fit, performance, and price. Note that this Decibullz earplug combines a mouldable outer portion with universal inner tips in an array of sizes.

These plugs take more work to set up, but they provide more noise protection and a slightly clearer sound than other universal – fit options do, so this was one of the only pairs that we found to be passable for skydivers amidst the noise of diving. Although these are not as good as custom-made earplugs, they cost $100 to $200 less and don’t require an appointment with an audiologist.

  1. Sky Plug

Ultimate Ear’s sky – divers earplugs are proudly developed with free fall parachute display team ‘The Tigers’ (The Princess of Wales Royal regiment). Bespoke ear defenders, made from soft ‘squidgy’ material. These plugs are extremely comfortable to wear, and flexible in the ear.

They are also the most effective and comfortable custom made hearing protection available. Just fit and forget. Hypoallergenic and easy to clean, the plugs are made from Ultimate Ear’s own ‘squidgy’ material, a unique blend of soft, flexible, medical grade silicone. They are perfect for skydivers who need maximum comfort and protection in the air. It can also be worn in all types of noisy environments.

Conclusion

If you want to keep the good sounds coming in to your skyward-tilting brain while skydiving, you’d better take some responsibility. Consider any of the earplugs mentioned above, and avoid future visits to the Doctor’s Office.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can Your Eardrums Burst While Skydiving?

Yes, skydiving can burst your eardrums but only if you already have an ear infection, head cold, or a congested sinuses. All these illnesses have the ability to block up your Eustachian tubes, which connect the middle of each ear to your throat and nose. A blocked Eustachian tube won’t do its job of managing and regulating pressure efficiently, and this could lead to a burst eardrum.

  1. Can You Wear Headphones While Skydiving?

Yes, you can wear headphones while Skydiving. Note that during the freefall portion of a skydive, tandem skydivers attain speeds of up to 120 mph and this kind of noise that this speed produces is significant. Therefore you can wear headphones as long as they are the right ones for skydiving.

  1. Can You Breathe While Skydiving?

Indeed, you can and should breathe while skydiving. Even in freefall, falling at speeds of about 120 – 160mph, you can easily get adequate oxygen to breathe.

  1. Can You Wear Your Glasses Skydiving?

Yes, you can wear glasses while Skydiving. In fact, there are glasses and goggles made specifically for skydivers to ensure safety and fun.

  1. What Can You Hear When You Skydive?

You basically hear the raucous rush of wind. This noise is more like the static from blowing into a microphone, or the loud sound in our head the very moment we splash into the water. However, this is not in any way harmful or painful, but it would be too loud to carry on a conversation. But immediately the parachute unrolls, everything becomes quiet.

  1. Can You Wear A Bandana While Skydiving?

Yes, you can wear a bandana while skydiving; especially because they stay on in freefall and can help keep you look good while skydiving.

  1. Can You Pass Out Skydiving?

Although it is highly unusual, but yes you can pass out skydiving. However, anyone who passes out while skydiving must have made a few mistakes before the jump.

  1. Could You Listen To Music While Skydiving?

Yes, it would more or less be allowed for licensed skydivers, especially during the jump and Freefall. However, it may not be proper for students or coaches that jump with someone.

  1. How Do You Get Your Ear To Pop After Skydiving?

This is a very delicate issue, especially because there are various factors that can cause this to occur, such as dehydration, ear infection, and even an ear injury. However, if you’re experiencing ear discomfort, blow your nose or swallow gently. Note that doing so will change the air pressure in your ears, making you feel more comfortable.

  1. How Do You Unclog Your Ears After Skydiving?

You can unclog your ears after skydiving by simply blowing out your nose while keeping the nostrils covered. Also, note that you can unclog your ears by trying to swallow at the same time you are gently blowing into your nose. It helps to alter the air pressure inside your ears to match that outside of them.

  1. Why Should You Use Indoor Skydiving Earplugs?

In indoor skydiving, the high speed of the airflow means it is noisy, therefore using earplugs is imperative and to ensure healthy hearing.

  1. How Do You Fix Your Ears After Skydiving?
  • Yawning
  • Swallowing
  • Holding your nose while closing your mouth
  • Opening your mouth wide and moving your jaw side to side
  1. How Do You Stop Your Ears From Hurting When Skydiving?

The best and easiest way to stop your ears from hurting when skydiving is to wear a good skydiving earplug. It is a good thing that earplugs for skydiving exist, giving you adequate protection from wind, sound, and other factors that can cause your ear to hurt.

  1. On Long Flights, Should I Wear Earplugs Or Headset?

You can wear either of the two.

  1. Can Skydiving Permanently Damage Your Ears?

Yes, and that’s if you have a cold, have sensitive ears, or are prone to allergies. Note that the quick pressure changes associated with skydiving are intense and can cause injury and in some cases, permanent damage.

  1. What’s The Maximum Safe Depth To Dive To When Wearing Silicone Earplugs?

Note that it is not advisable to dive wearing earplugs mainly because they may fall out when you hit the water. However, silicone earplugs are suitable up to 1 meter under water.

  1. Why Can You Always Hear Your Own Heartbeat While Wearing Earplugs?

Maybe because some of the normal low-frequency sounds energy in the listening environment that acts to somehow camouflage the vascular noise in one’s auditory system is silenced by the earplugs. Howbeit, without this low-frequency masking noise, a person’s vascular (internal) noise is at a higher level, and this may be why we can hear our own heartbeat while wearing earplugs.

Ajaero Tony Martins