Flying causes earache especially if you suffer from sinus troubles or have a cold or allergies. Rapid changes in air pressure causes the air pocket inside the middle ear to expand during takeoff and also contract during descent, stretching the eardrum.
This is what makes you experience popping noises in your ears. If you follow the old trick of closing your mouth, pinching your nose and blowing air out your nose, then you need to stop as this can damage your middle ear. Here are four natural techniques to help relieve the pain and discomfort.
1. Force a yawn or wiggle your jaw
You can relieve pain and popping noises by yawning or moving your jaw in a circular motion. As you do this, you’ll find a position that relieves your discomfort. Hold your jaw in that position for a few seconds.
2. Pinch your nose closed and swallow
If you find that yawning is not working, then try one of these two techniques. Close your mouth and pinch your nostrils. Then, push your tongue against the roof of your mouth. If pushing your tongue doesn’t help, try swallowing with your nostrils pinched.
3. Take a decongestant
If you’re congested and must fly, take a decongestant the night before the flight. Also, it helps to take a nasal spray 10 to 15 minutes before landing.
4. Put warm compresses on painful ears
Sometimes you can feel like the pressure changes have damaged your ears even after your flight. Symptoms including hearing loss, pain and ringing in the ears normally disappear after a few hours or days. While you wait for them to wear off, take an over the counter pain killer. Also, try to put warm compresses over the affected ear and sides, as well as the back of the neck.
See your doctor if your earache comes with itching, drainage and persistent hearing difficulties. If you continue to self treat persistent symptoms, you could permanently damage your ears.