People are traveling again, and with summer right around the corner, there’s a good chance you’re planning a long-awaited trip as well. However, before you head off to catch your flight at Denver International Airport it’s important to have all you need to protect your ears when flying.
Noise From Planes Can Damage Your Hearing
Exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels has the potential to cause hearing loss. The inside of a plane often hovers right around that volume while in-flight and can be even louder during takeoff and landing.
Thankfully there are several steps you can take to protect your hearing during the flight:
- Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. Both of these can help block out sound and can make your flight more peaceful. Headphones can let you listen to music or watch movies to pass the time. Just make sure you don’t have the volume turned up too loud.
- Sit away from the engine. Seats in the front rows are farthest away from the engine and therefore better for your hearing. However, if you have to sit farther back in the plane, choose an aisle seat as they are several decibels quieter than window seats.
Airplane Ear Can Cause Unpleasant Symptoms
Many people also experience ear issues due to the changes in pressure when flying. This is known as airplane ear. Symptoms can include:
- Fullness in your ear
- Muffled hearing
- Mild to moderate ear pain
While less common, in severe cases of airplane ear you may experience:
- Intense pain or pressure
- Moderate to severe hearing loss
- Ruptured eardrum
Research estimates that 10% of adults and 22% of children experience changes to their eardrum after a flight. While most of these changes are temporary and will resolve on their own, they can be unpleasant and in rare cases, debilitating.
Preventing Airplane Ear
If clogged ears or ear pain cause you problems when flying, there are several steps you can take to prevent it from happening:
- Use filtered earplugs
- Chew gum or suck on candy
- Use a nasal spray 30 minutes before takeoff
- Try not to sleep during takeoffs or landings
- Try the Valsalva maneuver during takeoff and landings. This involves gently blowing your nose while pinching your nostrils and keeping your mouth close. Repeat several times to help equalize the pressure between your ears and the cabin.
Treating Clogged Ears After a Flight
If your ears are clogged after the flight try yawning, chewing or using the Valsalva maneuver. You can also steam your ears. Do this by putting boiling water in a bowl and creating a tent over it with a towel, then place your head inside the tent and inhale the steam.
If your ears remain clogged or you have pain for several days after your flight, make an appointment with a doctor to get your ears evaluated.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call Advantage ENT & Audiology today.