Have you ever wondered why your ears experience so much discomfort whenever you’re on a plane? The most common complaint is that, when you rapidly ascend into the sky, your ears make popping noises that can sometimes be painful. This all has to do with pressure and altitude; our bodies were not meant to travel so quickly to such heights! To understand why our ears experience popping and discomfort when we fly, read on.
Why do our ears pop?
Your ears may pop on a regular basis, usually due to swallowing or yawning. This is because small bubbles of air travel from our nose, through the Eustachian tube, and to your middle ear. The Eustachian tube is comprised of a membrane, which absorbs the air bubbles. When this happens, air pressure on both sides of the eardrum remains equal. It’s when these pressure levels are unequal that our ears pop. This can also lead to a feeling of your ears being blocked. You are particularly prone to ear popping and unequal air pressure when you’re sick, and mucus is affecting your Eustachian tube’s membrane lining.
How to unblock your ears in flight
Rising and descending in a plane will cause rapid air pressure changes, and this can affect your middle ear. As a result, you’ll feel a lot of pressure that will be uncomfortable. To rid yourself of this pressure, you’re going to want to purposefully pop your ears. This can be done by swallowing–chewing gum or eating hard candy can kick-start a lot of swallowing movements. If this doesn’t work, you can hold both nostrils shut, take a deep breath, and push the air up as though you are going to blow through your nose. If the pressure or discomfort continues well after the flight has landed, you may want to contact an audiologist or physician.
Bay Area Audiology will conduct your hearing evaluation today!
Ready to change the way you look at hearing loss? Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology, and is dedicated to providing the absolute best solutions. Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment, with thorough evaluations. We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.
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