Flying on an airplane is a highly fun and exciting experience. It gives you a good 1-10 hours where you can kick back and relax and just generally feel relaxed and catch up on your reading or your work if you’ve brought a netbook. There’s the in-flight entertainment and there’s the excitement of knowing that you’re probably flying to some exotic foreign holiday location where you’ll be able to enjoy even more relaxation and down time.
However, while an airplane should mostly be a fun and exciting experience, it is often less than perfect and some things can detract from the journey. One is of course fear if you have any reservations about flying and there’s unfortunately little you can do about this other than to just try and reassure yourself that flying is something that lots of people do regularly.
Another thing that can detract from your flight though is your ears ‘popping’, or ‘stopping’, which makes it hard to hear, sometimes hurts, and is generally uncomfortable and unpleasant. This happens to us when we are on a flight because of the altitude which affects the air pressure and the pressure in our ears specifically and at the same time it makes our cavities slightly expand which can cause a mild ache. Fortunately though there is something you can do about this minor grievance. The question is then, how do you un-stop your ears, and how can you prevent this from happening in the first place? Here we will look at some of the techniques to counter the annoying popping of your ears so you can hear again and enjoy your flight with clear ears.
Yawn: Yawning is a great way to unstop your ears when you are flying and by letting more air into your head and stretching your jaw/opening your ears in this way it’s possible to release the pressure and get your hearing back.
Sucking sweets: A sucking action will help to push open your eustachian tubes which are the tubes between your nose and your middle ear. At the same time it creates a suction that can remove trapped air from your sinuses and cavities.
Take a decongestant: Decongestants are designed in order to clear out our tubes and cavities. These will come as either drops, a pill or a spray. Follow the directions on the package in order to use them to their best effect.
Drink water: Drinking causes you to swallow which will push air into the middle of your ears. This will then in turn push air into your middle ear and thus push out the air that’s trapped there. You should drink lots of water anyway on any flight as this will re-hydrate you to counter the effects of being in a dry cabin which can cause headaches and damage your skin otherwise.
Practice: Different things work better for different people. Try practising then by purposefully stopping your ears by holding your nose slightly and then trying to breathe out through it. Don’t blow top hard or you will hurt your ears and damage your ear drums, instead just gently blow enough for your ears to slightly pop. These will be easier to unstop than they would on a flight so now’s the time to try yawning, swallowing and generally practising unclogging them. If you get good enough you will be able to pop your ears by just ‘flexing’ them without even needing to swallow or yawn.