How to stop your ears from popping on a plane — and other things you didn’t know about your ears

Whether it’s a romantic getaway for two or a family holiday, an international jet can be the perfect way to escape the reality of everyday life.

But for some, the perfect getaway can wreak havoc on our ears once the plane takes off.

Audiology expert Martina McNulty offered advice on how to avoid having common ear problems ruin your vacation.

“As aircraft attain higher altitudes, cabin air pressure changes which can cause ears to ‘pop’, often resulting in severe pain and hearing loss,” said Specsavers Ireland’s Head of Audiology.

“The ‘popping’ sensation is the result of a pressure differential between the middle ear cavity and the outside environment, causing the eardrum to swell outward or be sucked inward, depending on whether the pressure is rising or falling.”

Ms McNulty said a simple solution to the pain, popping and muffled hearing associated with changes in pressure is to insert as much air as possible into the ear by swallowing or yawning.

She recommended sucking on a hard candy, chewing gum, or drinking through a straw during takeoff and landing to provide any assistance.

In addition, to avoid as much discomfort as possible, it is recommended not to sleep during take-off or landing and to drink enough fluids.

According to Ms McNulty, swimmer’s ear is an inflammation of the external ear canal that can often lead to infection.

It occurs when water becomes trapped in the ear, most often as a result of swimming.

When you cool off in the sea or by the pool, Ms McNulty said taking care of your ears is “essential”.

“For most, a little water in the ears isn’t a problem, but those who are prone to ear infections or swimmer’s ear should take extra care,” she said.

“The best way to avoid this is to wear earplugs and always stay away from polluted or dirty water to avoid infection.”

Exostosis, better known as “surfer’s ear,” is a condition in which bones in the ear grow from repeated exposure to cold water.

As these bones grow, the ear canal narrows, trapping wax and water. Ms McNulty said it could lead to hearing loss and infection.

“If you spend a lot of time in cold water, it’s wise to wear earplugs while swimming to reduce the chance of developing surfer’s ear,” she said.

“If the condition is causing problems, an audiologist can diagnose surfer’s ear, which can be treated with minor surgery.” How to stop your ears from popping on a plane — and other things you didn’t know about your ears

Fry Electronics Team

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