With the start of the holiday season, those who prefer airline transportation should be careful about ear health. May Hearing Aids Training Specialist, Audiologist Seda Başkurt, said, “Due to the pressure change in the ears during the flight; Fluid accumulation in the middle ear, feeling of congestion, dizziness, fullness, mild pain and rarely bleeding in the ear due to perforation of the eardrum can occur.
Although air travel is a frequently preferred transportation alternative, especially for those who want to save time, it poses serious dangers to ear health for many people who do not take adequate precautions. Especially with the arrival of the summer months, it is recommended that those who prefer air travel for vacation pay attention to ear health and avoid possible risks with some precautions to be taken before travelling.
May Hearing Aids Training Specialist, Audiologist Seda Başkurt, pointed out that sudden pressure changes during airplane journeys can harm ear health and said, “There is a pressure change in the body during take-off and landing moments of airplanes. The part that is most affected by this pressure change in our body is our ears. Our ears are the limbs responsible for hearing and the balance of our body. The Eustachian tube, which provides the pressure balance during swallowing, cannot provide the pressure balance during the descents and ascents of the airplanes. As a result, people may experience fullness, congestion and dizziness in the ears. The Eustachian tube in our middle ear opens and closes within seconds during swallowing. The pressure in the middle ear drops rapidly at the moment of landing of the planes, causing the eardrum to be pulled in. As a result, the Eustachian tube, which provides the pressure balance, may deteriorate due to sudden pressure changes during air travels.
In case of a complaint, it is useful to see an ENT specialist.
When there is a problem in the operation of the Eustachian tube due to the pressure change in the aircraft; Stating that fluid accumulation in the middle ear, a feeling of congestion, dizziness, fullness, mild pain and rarely bleeding in the ear due to perforation of the eardrum, Seda Başkurt underlined that it would be beneficial for individuals to undergo an ear, nose and throat examination before the flight. Başkurt said, “If you experience similar complaints during or after the flight, you should go to an otolaryngologist without wasting time. The doctor will start the treatment process according to your complaints. In cases of hearing loss, the treatment process may take a long time. Surgical treatment methods can also be applied due to perforation of the eardrum.
Risk groups and measures to be taken
Explaining that air travel carries more risks, especially in infants and children, since the Eustachian tube has not fully completed its development, Başkurt emphasized that people with nasal congestion due to flu infections or allergic rhinitis that cause nasal congestion, and children with adenoid problems are also at risk. Listing the precautions that can be taken for all risk groups, Seda Başkurt said, “If you are experiencing nasal congestion and you are going to travel by plane, you should first consult an otolaryngologist and use a nasal spray on the advice of the doctor. If you have an upper respiratory tract infection, it will be healthier for you to fly after treatment.
You can keep the Eustachian tube moving by chewing gum, stretching or drinking water. It will enable you to minimize the risks that may occur when you do these movements, especially not during sleep before the plane lands. You should make sure that your ears are clean, so it is useful to have an ENT examination before the flight. If you are traveling with your child, you can minimize the risks by breastfeeding infants and drinking or chewing gum for older children as soon as your plane lands. If you use earplugs or listen to something with headphones during the flight. You should remove them at the moment of landing of the plane and make sure that your ears can breathe,” he said.