A Common Problem
Many people who travel by airplanes daily tend to suffer from a certain sensation of ear pain now and then. Namely, either when the plain is taking off or when it is landing, some people start feeling something strange regarding their ears. They feel as if someone blocked their ears affecting their hearing or as if their eardrums have been exposed to serious pressure. Although, these sensations are more or less normal while flying, one should still be careful. Bearing in mind that unequal pressures in both sides of eardrum stand behind the above mentioned symptoms, it is best to know how to evade this or reduce it in order to avoid any serious negative effects it might cause.
How and Why Does This Happen?
This feeling of discomfort in ears, you feel during some parts of flying experience can easily escalate to pain. However, in order to know how to be able to decrease the pressure in ears and balance it, you need to know how does an ear gets into such a troublesome situation in the first place.
There is a tiny, free space in our middle ear. This space is filled with air which is under the same, balanced pressure, optimal to one's hearing abilities. This part of our ear is connected to the rear part of our nose with small tunnel called the Eustachian tube. Therefore, every side of our eardrum should have the same amount of pressure in order for us to hear correctly. When we are changing altitudes quickly, as we do when we are traveling by an airplane, this pressure gets out of balance, resulting in our hearing difficulties. This problem is resolved by abruptly raising the pressure inside one's middle ear.
How to Evade This?
First of all, one needs to know that his or her Eustachian tube, playing a vital role in pressure balance mentioned above, will probably remain closed if you are sleeping once the pressure gets disrupted. Therefore, it is important to be awake during the landing sequence of your flight in order to avoid any ear problems later.
Secondly, drinking something like water or juices every 15 minutes is known to help. Also, you may try to cut of your breathing pathways by pinching your nose with your thumb and index finger. After doing that, without breathing through your mouth, try to push the air out through the nose. This usually helps balancing the pressure and restoring your regular hearing.
Finally, avoid flying if you have cold, since then there is a high likelihood that you will suffer from ear pain. Also, wear earplugs throughout the flight since this is known to help greatly.