If you've ever traveled by plane, you're probably familiar with the ear pain that follows every take-off and landing. Flight crews tend to get adapted to the heights and don't always feel it, but the passengers are a whole another story. Here is how to deal with the ear pain during flights.
Who Is the Most Affected?
Among all people on flights, it's the children that are the most affected by ear pain, especially small children. Their cries of pain might cause a different sort of ear pain, though.
What About the Adults?
The adults are less affected, as 1 in 3 adults suffer from it when planes take off.
The Eustachian Tube
Among things that can plug up your Eustachian tube, a canal connecting your middle ear to the back of your nose, is, unfortunately, attitudinal change. That plugging is the main source of ear pain.
Similar ear pain happens when driving up hills and mountains and suddenly feeling like your head would explode.
Changes in Oxygen Levels and Air Pressure
Additionally, with the altitudinal changes also come changes in air pressure and oxygen level, causing light-headedness.
During take-offs, we experience a thousand feet worth of change in altitudes in a short amount of time, giving our Eustachian tubes some hard time keeping up with the air pressure and composure.
The Valsalva Maneuver
One of the ways of eliminating ear pain is pinching our noses, closing our mouths and blowing just enough to hear the popping sound in our ears. However, people with heart problems shouldn't use this method.
Similarly, the same symptoms are experienced during plane landings.
Having something to chew helps with the ear pain, as the mouth is connected to the nose which is connected to the ear and moving your chin may stabilize your inner air pressure.
Keeping your mouth open is also another way of stabilizing inner air pressure. Yawning is alright, as long as you don't nod off to sleep.
Also known as "earplanes", these plugs help regulate ear pressure. It is important to wear them up to 60 minutes before landing.
Having a Cold
If you have a serious cold, it is advisable for you to put off flying for another time.
What Doesn't Work
Putting cups or wet cloths over your ears, while potentially comfortable, won't help you reduce ear pain the way other, more conventional methods will.