What is Airplane ears or Barotraumas?
When a plane is landing there is temporary ear pain, stuffed-up feeling in the ear and there is partial loss of hearing, due to the changes in the air pressure. This condition is called Airplane ears.
Airplane Ears (Barotraumas) Symptoms
- The situations may vary from being a little uncomfortable to extremely painful conditions.
- Pain may exist for about 1/2 hr after landing.
Airplane Ears Causes
- When the plane is landing the atmospheric pressure increases and air gets trapped in the middle ear (because the Eustachian tube is unable to drain the secretions of the middle ear into the throat). Due to the differences in air pressure existing in the plane and the ear, the eardrum is pulled inward. Hence, the eardrum fails to vibrate naturally (hearing is impaired) and is stretched (which is painful).
- Scarring or ear infections in childhood may narrow the Eustachian tubes and cause airplane ears.
- Allergy and cold are other causes wherein the swollen nasal membranes block the Eustachian tubes
Home remedies for Airplane ears or barotraumas
- Swallow several times when the plane is taking-off to land or blow your nose gently, which may help the Eustachian tube to open.
- Take a decongestant pill or spray both nostrils with a decongestant nasal spray one hour before landing.
- Yawning helps to unblock the ears.
- Chewing helps the Eustachian tube to open and when a droplet of air passes from the nose and throat to the middle ear, pressure is relieved.
- Squeeze the nostrils shut with your fingers and breathe inwards through your mouth and then try to force the air back into the nose. Then your ears will get unclogged with a pop, accompanied by mild pain. This has to be repeated several times.
How can one prevent Airplane ears or barotraumas
- Cold and allergy can aggravate ear problems, so avoid flying in such situations.
- Do not consume alcohol during flying as it may lead to the swelling of the E tube.