>> Jun 27, 2014
I often experience ear pain during landing. The pain can be very annoying as sometimes it becomes intense and makes me panic. Sucking on candy during flight doesn’t work for me. Every time my left ear hurts, all I can do is yawning and swallowing several times –it may ease the pain gradually. On my last flight back home, I tried to plug my ear holes with tissue papers. I was very glad as it worked well! Good bye to ear pain.
So, how about you? Have you ever experienced the same symptom? I tried to find the cause of this pain. And here’s the result: I’m not alone. The ear pain I experience called barotrauma of the ear; actually, it is the most familiar medical problem reported by air travelers. Barotrauma refers to injury that caused by increased air pressure.
How it happens? The ear has three divisions: the outer ear (including the ear canal), the middle ear and the inner ear. The eardrum locates between the outer ear and the middle ear. The middle ear is related to the back of your mouth by a thin canal named the Eustachian tube. Air is continually moving through the Eustachian tube and into the middle ear. This balances the pressure in the middle ear with that in the inner ear.
Ear barotrauma may happen when one (or both) of two things occur: the Eustachian tube is blocked or partly blocked, and the air pressure around you changes all of a sudden. When air pressure of a plane changes suddenly, it can create a vacuum in the middle ear that draws the eardrum inward. This can cause ache and muffle noise. In more harsh cases, the middle ear can fill up with clear fluid. In the most severe cases, the eardrum can break. Luckily, this is uncommon case.
Things that you can do to prevent ear pain during flight:
-If you’re flying with a cold, infection or allergies, the chance you get ear pain is bigger. So, it would be better if you postpone the flight until you are healthier. If you can’t cancel to fly, take a decongestant one hour before your flight or use a decongestant nasal spray, or both. Antihistamines may also help if you have allergies.
-Special earplugs can delay the pressure change that influences the ear. These might give your ears added time to adapt to pressure changes.
Things that you can do to ease the ear pain syndrom:
-Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy
-Yawning and swallowing repeatedly, tightening the muscles in the back of your throat as you do. You may feel and hear the Eustachian tube pop open.
-Pressing your nose closed, breathe in through your mouth, and then try to move forward the air out through your nose while keeping it pinched shut. Do it gently and carefully, and stop once one ear pops.
-If you still often face ear pain and stuffiness after landing, bring always a decongestant spray every time you’re flying.