Air Europa Blog

The AirEuropa Blog

11 July 2017

Do you suffer from blocked ears?

blocked ears, flying, air europa

Leave your blocked ears behind!

Ear blockage is commonly experienced by passengers during flights as it is directly related with cabin air pressure changes. However, this symptom also occurs during other activities, such as scuba diving.

It is particularly during takeoff and landing that you may feel the effects of pressure change in your ears. This can cause blockage, buzzing, hearing loss and even pain.

What causes blocked ears?

Despite being perfectly pressurised, cabin air pressure fluctuates in proportion to changes in altitude. In other words, the more the aircraft climbs during takeoff, the lower the air pressure; and the more that it descends during landing, the greater the air pressure.

Consequently, our Eustachian tubes can become blocked and we experience what is known medically as “Barotrauma”.This is precisely the typical ear pain that we experience during a flight.

Babies and young children also experience the same symptoms when flying. In fact, the sensation is often more intense for babies than for adults as their ears are more sensitive. This usually results in crying as it is their only form of communication.

It is worth remembering that the effects of pressure changes are worse when we have a cold or fever. Therefore, sometimes it is best to avoid flying.

Advice to prevent blocked ears during a flight

To prevent or reduce the effects of pressure change we can make use of certain home remedies .

The main aim for reducing the effects of pressure changes is to make the air circulate through the air passages of the ears, nose and mouth. Therefore, the best advice is to do the following actions during takeoff and landing:

  • Chew chewing gum, suck a sweet or a dummy for babies, with the aim of swallowing a lot of saliva.
  • Yawn or open you mouth as wide as you can, and exercise your jaw by moving it from side to side.
  • Use filtered earplugs. Although their effectiveness is not guaranteed, they are an option worth considering. This type of earplug regulates pressure changes so that the effect on your ears is not so sudden.

También disponible en / Also available in: Español (Spanish)

Eva María Gomez Gomez