The ringing and feeling of your ears may be your complaint when you have to travel out of town or abroad through air travel. What, is that the cause of ear pain when boarding the plane?
Why are the ears hurt when boarding the plane?
The cause is nothing but not air pressure. When you are on land, the air pressure inside the inner ear and outside air pressure are almost the same. The ear organ called the Eustachian tube will regulate the air pressure in the inner ear and pressure from the outside as much as possible to be equal so that it will not cause problems.
A new problem will arise when there is a very rapid pressure change, such as during air travel. The higher your position in the air, the lower the air pressure will be. Drastic changes in altitude and air pressure in a short time make your ears not have time to adapt to equalize.
When your plane takes off and starts to dive up, the air pressure inside the inner ear quickly exceeds the outside pressure. The tympanic membrane or eardrum will then swell. Conversely when the plane will land, the air pressure in the inner ear decreases very quickly compared to the outside air pressure. This change in air pressure makes the eardrum shrink and the Eustachian tube becomes flat.
It is this stretch of the shape of the eardrum that is affected by air pressure that causes the ear to hurt when boarding an airplane, or gets off the plane. During the flight, the eardrum cannot vibrate so that your hearing feels full like a clog and sounds like muffled. This condition can get worse if you are sick with a cold or runny nose when boarding a plane, because the nasal mucus blockage will close the Eustachian tube and disrupt the work.
Ear pain problems when boarding a plane does not only occur in adults. In fact, babies and young children are the most vulnerable to complain about this because their Eustachian tubes are shorter than adults, and are also not well developed to balance air pressure.
Is this a danger?
Most cases of earache while boarding a flight are not dangerous - just make your trip a little uncomfortable. Once you land and arrive at the land of your destination, the condition of the ear will slowly return to normal.
Even so in rare cases, very high and drastic changes in pressure can cause severe ear pain and hearing loss because the eardrum ruptures. If you experience this, immediately check with your nearest ENT doctor or specialist.
To avoid the risk of hearing damage, you need to take precautions, before, during, and after your flight.
Tips to reduce ear pain during flight
If your ears are already clogged and feel stretchy, try doing a number of tricks below so that your air travel feels more comfortable:
- Chew gum, chips, or hard candy. The movement of chewing and swallowing will help the ear regulate the balance of air pressure.
- Shut your mouth and pinch your nostrils with your index finger and thumb. Then, gently exhale air through your nose. This trick helps open the blocked Eustachian tube, so that the air pressure in the ear stabilizes again. Do it repeatedly until you feel better. However, do not do this if you have a cold or flu, because it will only push the germs into the inner ear.
- If the above method doesn't work, try closing your mouth and pinching your nose then swallowing the saliva several times until the ear feels better.
- Spray the decongestant spray into the nose about 30 minutes before the flight takes off, or take decongestant medication 1 hour before the flight. Don't use this method if you have heart disease or hypertension.
If you are experiencing an upper respiratory infection (ARI), you should not first travel the air until it is completely cured. This aims to reduce the risk of ear inflammation. The risk will increase if your nose is clogged due to a cold or flu while boarding a plane.
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