Have you tried riding on a plane and felt your ears have clogged up or noticed some pain and pressure in your ears? This uncomfortable feeling is also known as airplane ear. Let me share with you what causes airplane ear, how you can relieve pressure in the ear after flight, and how you can prevent airplane ear for a more comfortable air travel.
Cause of Airplane ear
Airplane ear happens as the plane ascends or descends. It is caused by the inability of the Eustachian tube in your ear to catch up with the change of air pressure in your environment, preventing your ear drum to vibrate as it is supposed to. The Eustachian tube is the one responsible for regulating air pressure in your middle ear.
Ways to relieve air pressure after flight
To help relieve airplane ear, you can try the following tips:
- Swallow frequently. By swallowing frequently as you start to feel pressure in your ears, you will be opening up your Eustachian tubes that will eventually catch up with the air pressure.
- Chew some gums or eat hard candy. Chewing gums or eating hard candy both increase the production of your saliva, which can cause you to swallow more frequently and thus help relieve ear pressure.
- Try to yawn. Yawning also helps open up your Eustachian tubes that will help ease airplane ear.
- Do the Valsalva maneuver. Pinch your nostrils and blow your nose gently until you hear a popping sound. This method forces the Eustachian tube to open up. You may need to do this maneuver over again until you are relieved of ear pressure.
Ways to prevent airplane ear
Prevention is always the best solution to any problem. To help avoid experiencing airplane ear, do the following air travel tips before your flight:
- Use decongestants. If you have colds, mucus can easily block your Eustachian tube and prevent it from functioning well. Decongestants, whether spray or oral, can help clear your ear passage, including your Eustachian tube.
- Take anti-histamines. If you are prone to allergies, taking anti-histamines would be a good idea to help protect nasal and ear passages from irritants that cause blockage in your Eustachian tube.
- Don’t forget your chewing gums or your hard candy. As mentioned earlier, swallowing frequently helps open up your Eustachian tube, so chew some gums and eat hard candy as soon as your plane departs and before it descends.
Airplane ear can be avoided and it usually resolves easily by following the tips I have shared. In case you do not recover, please see your doctor. You may be needing some medications to help relieve the pressure in the ear after flight.
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