What Exactly is Airplane Ear?

  1. Airplane Ear

Airplane ear, also known as ear Barotrauma, Barotitis Media or Aerotitis Media, is stress that is sustained in the eardrum and middle ear tissues. When air pressure in your middle ear and the air pressure of the atmosphere are out of sync, it causes the eardrum to be pushed inward, limiting the eardrum capability to vibrate. As such, sound can begin to be muffled at the beginning of flight takeoff, or at the end of a flight when the airplane is landing. The change in altitude causes the air pressure to change and can cause an individual to experience symptoms of airplane ear. The hearing is normally restored shortly after landing.

Symptoms of Airplane Ear

Normally, an individual that is experiencing airplane ear has symptoms that may include moderate pain, discomfort in the ear, a stuffiness or a feeling of fullness; temporary hearing loss, or muffled hearing. People can experience these symptoms from scuba diving, explosions that are close by, and exposure to hyperbaric oxygen chambers as well.

Ways To Prevent Airplane Ear

To counteract this problem, you can yawn or chewing gum to prevent or correct the differences in the air pressure, improving the symptoms of airplane ear.

What To Do For Severe Symptoms

If a person continues to experience muffled hearing that lasts for more than a few hours or if someone is experiencing any severe problems, then they should consult a physician. Severe problems include extreme pain, pressure in the ear, moderate hearing loss; ringing in the ear, dizziness or a spinning sensation, vomiting; and bleeding of the ear.

Hearing Care Before Airplane Flight

Providing self hearing care before a flight is very important for preventing and alleviating airplane ear. An individual can take these precautions by blowing the nose gently or pinching the nose while keeping the mouth closed. Sleeping is not recommended during takeoff or landing. Take a decongestant 30 minutes to an hour before flight. If an individual suffers from heart disease, consult with a doctor first before taking decongestants.

Do not fly if it is not necessary when you have a sinus infection, nasal congestion, a cold, or an ear infection. Allergy medication should be taken an hour before the flight. Use filtered earplugs for the purpose of hearing care, to protect the ear from pressure against the eardrum during ascents and descents.

Make sure infants and children have plenty of fluid. Children should always sit up when drinking. Drinking fluids during ascents and descents aids in swallowing. Decongestants should never be given to infants or young children before or during flying. Giving infants a pacifier may also help. Implementing these technique discussed above will greatly reduce or eliminate the symptoms of airplane ear.

To learn more about how to prevent airplane ear or other changes in hearing, contact Beltone DFW.