Original Research

Skydiving: The audiological perspective

Dhanashree Pillay, Shaaista Dada
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 65, No 1 | a553 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v65i1.553 | © 2018 Dhanashree Pillay, Shaaista Dada | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 February 2017 | Published: 28 May 2018

About the author(s)

Dhanashree Pillay, Department of Speech and Hearing Therapy, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Shaaista Dada, Department of Speech and Hearing Therapy, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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Background: Skydiving is a popular recreational sport for the young and old. There is minimal research pertaining to skydiving and its relation to the audiological system. The risks of skydiving in relation to the auditory system should be explored further.


Aims: The main aim of this study was to explore the relationship between skydiving and audiology in South Africa. The sub-aims of the study focused on determining if skydivers were provided with safety precautions before they commenced with the dive, determining the middle ear pressure before and after the skydive and identifying the audiological symptoms that were present post-dive. This study also aimed at scrutinising the South African sports and recreation policy.


Method: A mixed-method descriptive research design was utilised. Qualitative information pertaining to audiology was identified and recorded from the scrutiny of South Africa (SA) policy and the dropzone consent forms at two skydiving schools. Thirty-one skydivers were purposefully recruited to undergo a pre- and post-dive tympanometric assessment.


Results: There is no information within the clearance forms that pertain to the audiological risks related to skydiving. There was a lack of information related to the risks of skydiving in the clearance forms at both dive schools. A statistically significant pressure change was noted in regular skydivers, regardless of the ability to equalise effectively during the skydive.


Conclusion: This study identified the gaps in policy and clearance forms, highlighting the need for the inclusion of safety measures and risks in the documentation and legislation that governs the sport. Audiologists, sportspeople and medical advisors should be cognisant of the negative consequences that may be evident within the auditory system of skydivers.


skydiving; audiological system; recreational sport


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