You made it – it is finally summer vacation! While this is far less exciting than it was when you were still in grade school, vacationing and summertime still go hand in hand.
Once you book your ticket, the planning can begin. Maps? Check! Hotel reservation? Check! Knowledge of how to prevent airplane ear? After you speak with your Las Vegas audiologist this will be a check as well.
What is Airplane Ear?
So what is airplane ear you ask? Medically speaking, airplane ear is called barotitis media and is the sensation of ear pain, a stuffed up ear and hearing loss many people experience while flying. It occurs when there is a change in air pressure within the inner ear, which typically will occur during either takeoff or landing.
Your Eustachian tube helps regulate pressure within your ear and connect your middle ear with a small opening at the top of your throat. Since the pressure within an airplane changes so often, and normally without warning, your Eustachian tube typically cannot respond quickly enough.
Can Airplane Ear be Prevented?
Why yes it can! And your Las Vegas audiologist is here to tell you how.
Yawning and swallowing during takeoff and landing will help to activate the muscles that open the Eustachian tube. Chewing gum or sucking on a mint can help activate these muscles as well.
The valsalva maneuver can help equalize the pressure within your ears and the airplane cabin. This can be done by blowing your nose while pinching your nostrils and keeping your mouth closed. This should be repeated several times.
Staying awake during takeoff and landing (we know, much easier said than done) ensures you are able to use these methods when needed.
Now, there is still a chance you could fall victim to airplane ear even if you follow all of your Las Vegas audiologist’s suggestions. The good news is that this probably won’t ruin your vacation. After your plane lands, symptoms will typically do away on their own after a few hours. If you are experiencing severe ear pain, tinnitus or vertigo, you should contact your Las Vegas audiologist.
To learn more about preventing airplane ear symptoms or to schedule an appointment, contact your Las Vegas audiologist today.