Are you one of those who face problems while flying? Do your ears pop and block, making you go through an excruciating level of pain? If so, then fret not because this is something that is really not that uncommon.
It’s mostly the discomfort and exasperation that most of us feel for few minutes while our flight ascents or descents but some precautions are very much needed for the pain to not turn into a serious thing like an ear rupture or loss of hearing capability.
But first, what is the reason for our ears to pop like that?
Causes of ear pain during flight
The air pressure in our flight’s compartment changes swiftly the moment the airplane ascents. Normally the air pressure present in our ear canal and our middle ear is the same but this sudden change in the air pressure of the compartment is the prime reason that gives birth to the slight suffering that our ear goes through. While taking off, the air pressure in the compartment drops rapidly because of which the air pressure of our ear canal drops as well giving access to the air present in our middle ear, which is behind our eardrum, to push outwards making our eardrums swell and thus making us feel the pain.
Likewise, when our flight lands, the air pressure in the compartment increases which leads to an increase in the air pressure of our ear canal eventually making our eardrum push inwards. This sudden pressure on the eardrum is what again leads to causing intense pain and this is what in medical terms is referred to as Ear Barotrauma.
Some people face extreme pain while ascending and some do while descending, and then there are some who faces difficulty during both the time. Many feel severe pain, a sensation of spinning, sudden pressure on the eardrum area, or even moderate hearing loss for few minutes.
So, in order to not feel any of these above-mentioned factors or to minimize ear pain during flight, what actions and measures should be adopted?
The Eustachian tube is a canal that links our middle ear with the back of our nose. This tube helps to equalize the air pressure in our ear but because of the change in the altitude when the flight ascents this tube starts to swell a little. To avert the pain that is caused because of the swelling we have to do certain things that will help open up the Eustachian tube.
1. Chewing or moving jaw
Chewing a pack of gum or simply opening and closing your mouth can help to ensure the working and opening up of the Eustachian tube. Doing so constantly leads to a popping sensation, which is like a bubble of air that moves from the back of our nose to our middle ear. This popping sound is a clear manifestation that air is now passing to the middle ear and then to the inner ear via the Eustachian tube thus ensuring perfect circulation.
Swallowing too can help open up the Eustachian tube. For infants, a pacifier is suggested while kids can lick candies or lollypops. Eating and licking chocolate bars too isn’t a bad option for adults as the constant movement of the mouth will help the air pressure to equalize.
3. Yawning or Valsalva Maneuver
Simple yawning again helps in opening up the Eustachian tube and so does the Valsalva maneuver, where you have to suck in some air via your mouth and then close it along with closing your nostrils with your fingers then gently exhaling the sucked in air from your mouth. The gentle exhaling again helps to open up the tube.
4. Toynbee Maneuver
Valsalva maneuver is not recommended to those who have a cold while traveling instead they should go for Toynbee maneuver where you are supposed to close your nostrils with your fingers and close your mouth as well, then keep on swallowing until the clicking sound comes in indicating you that the Eustachian tube is now opened to function.
5. Nasal spray/Nasal decongestion
If you have a cold then you can go for a nasal spray, puffing in each nostril will help opening up of nose and then the Eustachian tube. In order to decrease the decongestion, one trusted product Sudafed Nasal Decongestion is suggested by physicians that will help in the functioning of the Eustachian tube more smoothly.
The above-mentioned are the best go-to tips that you can opt for to avoid ear pain while traveling via plane. But what we would suggest is you shouldn’t risk traveling via a flight when you are sick, have a severe cold, or some sort of flu. By avoiding traveling in such unwell condition you would not just do good to yourself but to others who would be traveling. It’s better to postpone the trip if possible because no matter what our health always comes first.