In recent times, the easiest and the fastest way to travel is through the air. But like every other things come with a side effect, so does travelling by air. Most of us, at some point of time during a flight, have experienced what is generally known as Airplane Ears.
Airplane Ears, also known in medical terms as Barotitis Media, is caused mainly due to the variance in the air pressure inside an aircraft during flight. Even though aircrafts are pressure-monitored to maintain the variations to an extent that passengers are not affected, there are some of us whose bodies are fine-tuned to a level where it still bothers us.
Airplane ears are mostly characterized by partial hearing loss or muffled hearing, ear pains as well as the feeling of stuffiness inside the ears and can be made worse if the affected person is already suffering from cold or flu. There have also been cases of mild headaches, drowsiness accompanied by a nauseous feeling. A feeling vertigo as well as mild bleeding from the ears has also been reported in some cases.
These symptoms might last only for about half an hour, while in most are seen in milder versions, for some, they might actually be too painful and even though most recover from it quite quickly, no one actually would want to feel such discomfort while traveling and as such there are certain steps that can be taken to help with the condition.
The Eustachian tube, which helps with the air exchange inside your ear is what needs to be kept unblocked and in working order, so that the pressure differentiation does not affect you as much. A few step can be taken to accomplish this such as:
Keep Chewing Gum Handy
Constant chewing as well as swallowing helps activate the muscles that operate the Eustachian tube and keeps it open which in turn helps with relieving the pressure inside your ears.
Squeeze shut your nose with your thumb and forefinger and then, after you have inhaled through your mouth, attempt to exhale back through your nose, all the while making sure that your nostrils are shut. This will build up pressure behind your ears and help unlogged them.
Try a Decongestant
A nasal spray or a decongestant pill will help if you feel any sort of pain, mild or otherwise. They help shrink the membranes of the Eustachian tube thereby making your ears ‘pop’.
Yawning has also been found to be quite effective in keeping your ears unblocked during an aircrafts descent.
Try Ear Plugs
Consider using ear plugs that are made of silicone rubber. They have been known to have a filter that helps equalize the air-pressure and its changes.
Do not Sleep During Descent
Avoid sleeping during descent and make sure to swallow several times since that helps in keeping the Eustachian tube active and unblocked thereby helping equalize the air pressure.
Avoid Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol causes the mucous membranes to become inflamed and also the Eustachian tube to swell. It is thus, advised to avoid any kind of alcoholic beverages during air travel.