What is Earache: How to Avoid Earache During a Flight

During an airplane trip, you often experience a feeling of earache, a slight decrease in hearing, an inconvenience, or a bit of pain.

It is exactly the ear pain from the airplane, a stir that can take several hours after you put your feet on the ground.


What measures can be put into practice to avoid earache?

Dr. Stefano Miceli, an otolaryngologist, says earache (also called barotrauma) can only affect one ear or both and occurs more often in the final stages of an air flight.

This is caused by an imbalance between the air pressure level in the middle ear and the one in the space in which it is located.

On landing of the airplane it may happen that, especially if the airplane cabin is not well-pressed or if the subject has no cold air, the air pressure in the airplane increases rapidly and Eustach’s tubes (the connecting channel to the middle ear with nasopharynx where the pressure in the ear cord is arranged) can not react immediately to this pressure tightening. A negative pressure is created in the Tympanic cavity, which generates a retraction of the tympanic membrane from which the feeling of pain occurs.


What can be done to decrease earache during airplane landing?

“Of course, a useful tool is gum chewing to promote the opening and closing of the eustachian tube in order to equalize the level of pressure between the middle ear and the outside environment,” the specialist answers.

“In the case where the subject is affected by the cold, at the time of air travel it is useful to take, before or immediately after the cessation, a pain medication, such as paracetamol, to reduce the inconvenience and wait for the the normalization of environmental pressure. ”


Why does chewing helps against earache?

“Chewing helps because the chewing muscle contraction opens and closes the eustachian tube, which allows the air to pass through the middle ear, compensating for increased external pressure.”


If someone feels uncomfortable because of the earache, should he/she be worried?

“Absolutely not. The only measures to be followed are chewing gums, taking paracetamol in the event of pain and waiting for the natural solution of the phenomenon that usually occurs within a few hours”, concludes Dr. Miceli.

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