I Cry, When The Flight Descends

The Ear Pain At The Air Plane:

Ear Pain

Image Credit: Pixabay

My fourth to and fro trip by Flight was to Singapore. I had boarded the flight and got my seat upgraded to Business Class. Had a co-passenger, a writer who had given me some company chatting for a while. He had asked me if I can join him for drinks and was really understandable when I had denied his invite wearing a smile.

Hmm, Namakku Indha Genmathula “Bovonto” Daanu Ezhidhi iruke [Sigh].

Soon after the conversation, I had moved on with my journey in a separate route by snoring and he had enjoyed his drinks until landing. Not sure about the dream I had but I was able to sense my tears rolling down to the chin passing my cheeks. It was a horrible pain in my ear that disturbed my sleep and also made me wake up crying. It was already 6 AM in the morning and the flight was above the sea level.

I still remember the scenic beauty in a bird’s eye view. It was mind-blowing to see the blue sea with smaller islands, cruises, and yachts at the bay of Singapore. But, I was unable to enjoy the moment as my ear pain overridden the outside beauty. I took a strip of orbit chewing gum from my bag and started to chew. The ear pain was so intense which made me chew all the six tablets in one go.

Without much relief from chewing, I had landed safely at Changi Airport teasing my ears with fingers. Found Starbucks and grabbed a cup of coffee assuming anything hot I drink would help me get rid of ear pain. All my assumptions went wrong. The only thing that made me comfortable a bit was the quick nap I had sitting in the lounge.

I am sure there are a lot of people who suffer severe ear pain when they travel by flight. Especially when the flight starts to ascend/descend. This post has got all the information I had gathered via minor researches online and from my own experiences related to ear pain on the flight.

Reason For the Ear Pain At The Time Of Flight Takeoff/Landing:

The human ear is made up of three sections. We would have studied all these when we were in our higher secondary but not even faintly I remember now. The three sections of our ear are,

Outer Ear – The part in the Red-colored square box in the below picture.

Middle Ear – The part in the Blue-colored square box in the below picture.

Inner Ear – The part in the Orange-colored square box in the below picture.

ear pain

Image Credit: Wikipedia

The reason for the ear pain during the flight takeoff/landing is the pressure imbalance. Sudden changes in the air pressure around us are also one reason that leads to ear pain.

Purely My Views:

I also believe that the ear pain has to do with the way how the pilot operates the flight. Sudden altitude drops are one main reason for the pressure imbalances.I hate traveling by Jet/Indigo for this one reason and love Emirates for the same reason.

I also ensure that I do not sit on the seats beside the wings as I had felt ear pain most of the times I chose to sit there.

Information From Ask Doctor K Website

Here’s why it happens. Your ear has three parts: the outer ear (including the ear canal), the middle ear and the inner ear. The eardrum comes between the outer ear and the middle ear. The middle ear is connected to the back of your mouth by a thin canal called the Eustachian tube. Air is constantly moving through the Eustachian tube and into the middle ear. This balances the pressure in the middle ear with that in the inner ear.

Ear barotrauma can occur when one (or both) of two things happen: the Eustachian tube becomes blocked or partially blocked, and the air pressure around you changes suddenly.

Air pressure gets lower at higher altitudes. When a plane takes off, and when it descends for landing, the altitude changes rapidly. While the plane has systems to reduce the sudden changes that occur during takeoff and landing, some still occur.

When a plane’s air pressure changes suddenly, it can create a vacuum in the middle ear that pulls the eardrum inward. This can cause pain and muffle sounds.

Things That Might Help During Ear Pain:

  • Yawning + Swallowing
  • Chewing Gums
  • Forceful Blowing of Air with mouth and nose Closed
  • Suckling (For Infants and for kids of age < 3)
  • Sucking hard candies
  • Decongestant Spray / Pills
  • Ear Plugs

Things That Would Make Ear Pain Worse:

Below mentioned are capable of making your traveling experience worse. Consult a doctor before traveling by flight for a better and smooth landing.

  1. Cold
  2. Sinus
  3. Allergies or Infections related to Ear and Mouth especially.

Things I had Tried So Far To Handle Ear Pain During Flight:

  • Ear Plugs meant for pressure maintenance (a bit expensive on Amazon). Ear plugs for noise cancellation are different.
  • Eating Candies
  • Chewing Gums
  • Yawning + Swallowing
  • Teasing ear with my finger (like how we do if water gets inside the ear) followed by swallowing
  • Drinking water sip by sip for continuous jaw movement
  • Valsalva Maneuver

I had tried all the above mentioned 7 methods. Though most of them clear my ear by creating a pop. I rely majorly on the 6th and 7th approaches. I had tested these methods myself (one approach at a time during my journeys). It took few flight journeys to identify the ones that work for me.

I do the 6th and the 7th approaches mentioned above at the time of Take off and Landing.

Valsalva Maneuver Steps:

ear pain

Image Credit: doctoryg

  1. Close/pinch your nose.
  2. Blow air with the mouth closed. (Like how we blow air into a balloon).
  3. Wait for pop sound inside the ear.

I use to repeat the steps 1 to 3 twice with a gap of five minutes while landing as I find landings more challenging than take-offs.

Note: Valsalva Maneuver is not just for getting rid of ear pain during flight. It has got a lot of other benefits and is in use on various things related to our body.

Caution:

Doing Valsalva Maneuver to get rid of ear pain should be done with caution.

Being hard while doing it may rupture the eardrum. Please do not try for longer duration and be gentle while doing it.

I always request the flight attendants to let me know or wake me up an hour or 30 minutes before the landing. By that way, I ensure that I am well prepared for the landing especially during overseas travel.

Valsalva Maneuver works like a charm for me to win over my ear pain. But, I cannot say that it will work for everyone. In case, if it does not work for you, please do try some other approaches mentioned above or anything you find it.

Some of you might always have a great and smooth flight travel. But, that may not be the case for some of your own family members and to your friends. Do share the information with people whom you know go through a harrowing time due to ear pain while traveling by flight.

I wish you a Safe and Ear Pain-Free Journey. Good Luck.

References:

How do your Best Earphones/Earbuds look like?

How do your Earphones/Earbuds look like?

It’s easy to find someone walking alone without a friend rather than someone without best earphones on their ears. I could picturize you shaking your head with a smile as you too agree with my opinion.

best earphones

Pic source: Sister cities music

Yes, gone are the days when we used to carry compact Walkmans and Discman’s. All those hit products are available now in our own cell phones and in lesser than a palm-sized music player.

But, what has not changed much except the style, quality and performance are the best earphones which stay with our ears most of the time. The great companion which allows our hands to perform other tasks in parallel.

For example, I listen to music using best earphones while walking and that’s how my day starts. Again, while riding my scooter to the office and while returning back home.

Even at work, I use my best earphones to listen and speak during the meetings and for conversing with someone over the cell phone. It may not be the same but I am sure that it is at least nearer to how most of us use our earphones.

We all tend to offer our earphones with friends and colleagues especially when we want to share the joy of a music or a funny WhatsApp / Facebook video.

best earphones

Pic source: cartoonstock

What We Overlook?

Most of the time, we fail to remember that while sharing our best earphones with others we send germs or bacteria’s as well to our friend’s ear. Not only the germs but also the wax and dust. Most of us do not know that we need to clean our earphones earbuds at least once in a month or two.

Yes, it is a proven fact that an unclean earphones/earbuds can send bacteria to the ears of the user leading to ear infections followed by pain.

How to avoid gifting trouble to our loved and cared ones is by keeping our ears as well as best earphones clean and tidy.

Most of the best earphones in the market come with removable earbuds and it is very easy to clean them.

All it requires is your used old toothbrush, soapy water or 15 ml of vinegar for cleaning and a small piece of cloth or paper towels to dry it out.

Use an old toothbrush to remove sturdy dirt from the mesh. Do not be hard towards the dirt while rubbing the mesh as it might damage the mesh itself.

Use soapy water or vinegar only to clean the soft silicone buds. You can dampen a small piece of cotton in vinegar and run it through the silicon earbuds passage.

Tip:

Nowadays, most of the best earphone comes with many silicon earbuds with a variation in sizes too.

For example, some models of brand Sennheiser and Skullcandy comes with many earbuds. They come with the package so that the user can choose the earbuds which fit well in their ears. If required, we can use the extra earbuds to replace the existing one once in two months so that we can we can sanitize the older ones.

Remember, we need to feel comfortable at least with two of the earbuds which came with the package so that we can interchange. If not, we only have the option of cleaning the existing bud and reusing the same.

Caution:

  • Earbuds alone should be exposed to water while cleaning and not the electronic parts.
  • Earphone should be completely disconnected from the mobile device while cleaning.

Disclaimer:

The above method would work only for the in-ear best earphones which come with a soft silicon bud. This is not applicable to the Ear Pods without silicon buds like the one shown below.

The Ear Pods:

best earphones

 

In this case, damp the ear cleaning bud with soapy water and clean the mesh gently after rubbing it with a soft brush.

So, we now know how to take care of our earphones and earbuds to give them a maximum lifetime and also without any unwelcome guests inside our body.