If you’re beginning your vacation by flying out of Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, you may experience a common condition known as airplane ear. One of the most common health problems for people traveling on air routes, airplane ear exhibits symptoms such as:
- A popping sensation in your ears
- Discomfort or pain in your ears
- Muffled hearing
- Slight to moderate temporary hearing loss
- Feeling of fullness or stuffiness in your ear
Severe cases of airplane ear may also include tinnitus, greater pain and pressure, bleeding in the ears and vertigo. Let’s examine what causes airplane ear and how you can help prevent it.
Why Does Airplane Ear Occur?
Your ears contain Eustachian tubes running from the back of your middle ear to your throat and are responsible for maintaining balanced air pressure on both sides of the eardrum. A quick change in the air pressure in the environment around you, such as during take-off and landing on a flight, can negatively impact the Eustachian tube’s ability to equalize pressure in the ear, resulting in the symptoms of airplane ear.
How Can You Manage the Symptoms of Airplane Ear?
Most mild cases of airplane ear will disappear shortly after a flight, but severe cases can result in temporary or lasting hearing loss. There are a couple of techniques for preventing airplane ear, including:
- Swallowing or yawning. Swallowing or yawning helps the Eustachian tube open and bring air into the middle ear, allowing the pressure between the environment and ear to equalize. You can help promote swallowing by chewing gum or sucking on a hard candy.
- The Valsalva maneuver. The Valsalva maneuver can help equalize pressure in your ears during your flight. To perform the maneuver, pinch your nostrils, close your mouth and blow air into your nose as if you were blowing into a tissue. Perform this maneuver several times during take-off and landing to prevent airplane ear.
- Avoid flying while sick. Ear or sinus infections and nasal congestion can exacerbate airplane ear. If you are prone to severe cases of airplane ear, try to avoid flights when experiencing any of these illnesses.
For more information on managing airplane ear, contact Amarillo Hearing Clinic today to make an appointment with one of our specialists.