If you are one of the millions of Americans who deal with tinnitus, you know how irritating the ringing or buzzing in your ears can be.
Some people experience worse tinnitus symptoms while flying. If you are one of them, let’s go over a few ways to manage your tinnitus so that you’re prepared the next time you head out to catch a flight at Tucson International Airport.
Tinnitus and Airplane Ear
Flying can be hard on our ears, in general. Most of us have probably experienced the feeling of our ears being clogged or full when on a flight, particularly on the ascent or descent. This occurs because the rapid changes in pressure during takeoff and landing can strain the eardrum.
The condition is commonly referred to as airplane ear. For many people, symptoms are mild and resolve themselves quickly or can go away when you do things like chew gum or yawn. However, in more severe cases, people can experience tinnitus, vertigo, intense pain and moderate to severe hearing loss. If you already have tinnitus, airplane ear can exacerbate your symptoms.
Flying Can Be Stressful
For many, traveling, and flying in particular, can be a stressful experience. Some people are nervous about flying, while others stress about arriving at the airport on time or missing their connecting flight. Additionally, airports and airplanes can be loud, whether due to other passengers or the sound of the plane’s engine. Both stress and loud noise can also aggravate tinnitus, making for an unpleasant flight.
Ease Tinnitus While Flying
Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to help minimize your tinnitus and have a more enjoyable traveling experience.
- Wear noise-canceling headphones or earmuffs. Both of these can help muffle the sound during a loud flight. This can give your ears a break and help reduce stress levels. Avoid using earplugs, though, as those can worsen tinnitus in some people.
- Sit near the front of the plane. The further you are away from the engine, the less loud your flight should be. It’s also a good idea to choose an aisle seat over a window seat for this same reason.
- Don’t fly when congested. If you have a cold or ear infection, reschedule your trip if possible. If not, speak with a medical professional about taking decongestants or other medications to help ease your symptoms and reduce your risk of ear pain and tinnitus.
- Try methods to pop your ears during the flight. As mentioned, activities like yawning, chewing gum, sucking on hard candy or swallowing can help equalize the pressure in your ears during the flight by helping to open your Eustachian tubes.
- Use distractions. Before you fly, download some movies or TV shows that you’ve been meaning to catch up on, or bring a book or puzzle. Having an activity that can distract and relax, you can help keep you calm and keep your mind off your tinnitus.
To learn more or to have your symptoms evaluated by one of our experts, call Arizona Hearing Specialists today.