Last updated on March 9th, 2018 at 10:24 am
Ear pain is the number one turn-off attached to traveling via the fastest mode of transportation. Almost everyone who has flown in an airplane has experienced ear pain during flights and some have even complained of having blocked ears after a flight; it is a very common issue that comes with traveling by air transport and often disappears once the plane lands. Nevertheless, precautions should be taken to alleviate this because it could result in a greater problem like hearing loss if ignored.
This airplane ear pain is not the same for everyone; it is excruciating for some and quite indolent for some others. Ear pain in flights arises as a result of the expansion and contraction of an air pocket which is located within the middle ear, during the plane’s takeoff and descent. This happens because the rapid ascent or descent of the plane destabilizes the equal air pressure that the inner ear has with the environment and this air pressure is normally equal because of the Eustachian tube that connects the inner ear with the back of the nose. Therefore, a blocked or narrow Eustachian tube will make ear pain in flights very severe. Hence, it is not advisable to travel when you are suffering from ailments like cold, congestion, hay fever, allergy attacks etc.
Although ear pain in flights is a common occurrence, there are certain things you can do to ease the pain, one of which is making use of air pressure regulating earplugs. With these earplugs on, the pressure of the air is filtered and regulated, relieving you of whatever pain or discomfort your ears are giving you. You should only insert this earplug in your ear an hour before and after landing-when, the maximum altitude of the plane has been reached, the earplug can be removed. Using air pressure regulating ear plugs is one of the simplest ways to relieve yourself of ear pain in flights.
1. Using decongestants
decongestant nasal sprays or oral decongestant pills should be taken based on doctor’s prescriptions and it should be taken 30 minutes to an hour before the ascend and descend the airplane. These decongestants should be taken with caution as an overdose can result in high level of congestion; also feeling of drowsiness and thirst are some of the side effects this medicine can cause you to have.
2. Enough intake of fluids
It is advisable that you do not allow your system to become dehydrated. Therefore you need to take as many fluids as you can during flights.
3. Yawning and swallowing
The Eustachian tube that allows air to pass from the back of your nose into your inner ear needs to remain open. The muscles that open this tube are activated when you yawn or swallow. You could opt to use chewing gum or candy to aid your swallowing.
4. Using a special balloon
You could buy special balloons like Otovent at a pharmacy. Blowing this balloon during flights eases the ear pain and also helps unblock your ear after the plane lands. The balloon is blown through the nostrils and not the mouth—one nostril at a time. Unlike decongestants which are not suitable for children, both children and adults can make use of the balloon.
5. Doing the Valsalva manoeuvre
This entails pressing your nose down with your fingers while your mouth is closed and filled with air. This is so that you can pop your ears by gently but forcefully letting the air out.
Certainly, you will have a better flying experience when you practice the above-listed remedies.
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