What can be done to relieve symptoms of airplane ear?
Suggestions to help ease the discomfort of airplane ear include:
- Stay awake during takeoff and landing. This will help the passenger be more aware of changes in the ears, and so better able to react.
- Swallow and yawn when ear discomfort begins. This helps the Eustachian tubes open. The more they open, the more the Eustachian tubes can even out the air pressure. With babies, it is helpful to feed them or give them a drink or a pacifier at the time of the airplane’s descent so that they will swallow.
- Chew gum during the flight, especially during takeoff and before the plane begins its descent, to help equalize the pressure.
- Blow your nose gently into a tissue to alleviate pressure.
- Blow air through your nose while closing your mouth and pinching your nose. This simple exercise allows more air to get into the Eustachian tubes.
- Take a decongestant if you suffer from a cold or allergies. It may help clear up your ears before the plane lands.
- Wear ear plugs to help regulate pressure within the ears.
What are the complications associated with airplane ear?
Complications from airplane ear are rare. Rarely, severe pressure in the ears may result in a perforated (ruptured) eardrum, which happens with sudden pain that goes away quickly. Usually a perforated eardrum will heal without medical attention after a few weeks. Call your doctor right away if you experience these symptoms that may occur with perforated eardrum:
- Hearing loss.
- Ringing in your ears.
- Discharge from your ears.
- Nausea from a spinning sensation (vertigo).