has already set in and along with it comes the holiday season.
Once the exams are over most families make plans to go on a vacation.
These plans often include air travel or going to a hill station
on a high altitude. This is why today I am writing about a common
problem that occurs during air travel or at a high altitude.
you have traveled by an airplane before you will be familiar with
the effect it has on your ears. You feel the pressure build up
and then your ears pop especially during landing. Normally once
you have landed the pressure in the ears settles down and no discomfort
or pain is experienced. However some people develop ear problems
like temporary hearing loss and pain during an air flight and the
symptoms do not go away even on landing. This problem is then known
as Airplane ear.
understand why this problem takes place you have to first understand
the normal working of the ear and how it equalizes the pressure
inside. There is a small tube, which connects the back of your
nose to the middle ear. Air enters from the back of the nose through
this tube to the middle ear. This small air bubble is then absorbed
by the membranous lining of the middle ear and this process keeps
happening in order to maintain equal pressure on both sides of
the eardrum. If the air pressure is not equal on both sides then
the ear feels blocked. This problem occurs especially when the
Eustachian tube is blocked.
CAUSES BLOCKAGE OF THE EUSTACHIAN TUBE?
Eustachian tube is a very small narrow tube as thin as a pencil
lead, which connects the back of the nose to the middle ear. This
tube can easily get blocked by a number of reasons. The most common
cause is cold and sinusitis. A nasal allergy or a throat infection
can also cause this problem.
Once the Eustachian tube is blocked the pressure in the middle ear
cannot be equalized. This is because a vacuum is created which sucks
the eardrum inward stretching it. This stretched eardrum cannot
vibrate so hearing becomes hard and difficult. If this blockage
continues, fluid will build up which causes more problems.
DOES AIR TRAVEL CAUSE THIS PROBLEM?
you are traveling by air the changes in the air pressure are rapid.
In order to maintain the equal pressure on either side of the eardrum
the Eustachian tube has to open often and wide enough. This is
especially necessary while landing where you are going from a low
atmospheric pressure to higher pressure on land. If for some reason
the opening of the Eustachian tube is blocked then the necessary
adjustments cannot take place and the person experiences symptoms
of Airplane Ear.
ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF AIRPLANE EAR?
problem can occur in either one ear or in both.
1. Discomfort is the normally the first symptom experienced. If
this discomfort continues then pain may set in.
2. There is a sense or feeling of fullness or stuffiness in the
3. The patient may experience a slight hearing loss. But if severe
then the hearing loss can be quite marked.
4. Ringing in the ear or tinnitus is another symptom of Airplane
5. If the blockage continues then fluid may build up in the middle
ear. If severe then there may bleeding from the affected ear.
6. Occasionally the patient might have symptoms of dizziness.
HOW CAN AIRPLANE EAR BE PREVENTED?
are a few handy ways in which you can prevent Airplane ear from
1. If you have a cold or sinus infection try and postpone your flight
till you are better. Even if it is just a nasal allergy or throat
infection do not take it lightly and avoid flying till you are cured.
2. If you have had ear problems in the past take the advice of your
doctor before flying.
3. During take off and landing keep sucking on a sweet or chew gum.
This encourages swallowing which helps keep the Eustachian tube
open. Yawning is another effective way to keep the tube open.
4. If you are traveling with a child or infant it is best to make
them drink water or other fluids while take off and landing. Make
sure that they are free from cold or other upper respiratory tract
5. Do not allow your child or baby to sleep especially during landing
because they will not swallow and the ears may get blocked.
6. Drink plenty of water during a long flight otherwise dehydration
sets in. Avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages, which cause dehydration.
your ears are blocked or plugged during a flight or after here
is something you can do to try clearing them.
1. try to shut your nose completely by pinching the nostrils shut
with the help of your thumb and index finger.
2. take a big gulp of air into your mouth.
3. then using your cheek and throat muscles try to gently force
the air into the back of the nose. You should feel as if you are
trying to blow your thumb and index finger off your nostrils.
If you hear a pop in your ears then this means that you have managed
to clear them. If not then you might need medical help.
FOR AIRPLANE EAR
are several over the counter decongestants and anti-allergic drugs
available in chemist shops which will give immediate temporary
relief and can be taken before a flight but what people do not
realize is that these have a tremendous rebound effect if used
regularly. That means that though they give relief in the longer
run they cause more severe blockage and make the person more prone
to Airplane ear. So what is the correct treatment and how does
one treat this problem?
root underlining cause should be treated correctly. Allergies,
colds, nose blocks, respiratory infections should be cured completely.
Homoeopathy has the capacity and potential to cure all of these
and hence prevent ear problems during a flight or at high altitude.
stated earlier it is essential to treat the cause that is the allergies,
colds, sinusitis etc… that make the individual susceptible
to Airplane ear. There are a vast number of homoeopathic drugs
which help deal with these problems depending on the symptoms and
signs of the patient. Here are a few excellent remedies, which
help to cure this condition.
30 year old woman came to my clinic with a problem saying that
she felt a sensation of fullness in her ears, as if they were stuffed.
Sometimes she would also experience a mild loss of hearing due
to this. When asked how this problem first started she told me
that it began after taking a flight. On asking what makes her feel
better she told me only open air made her feel better. On further
case taking I learnt that she was a very mild person who cried
All these symptoms are characteristic of this remedy where the person
is susceptible to changes in atmosphere. A Pulsatilla personality
is also a thirstless person, they hardly drink any water. Occassionally
there might be a thick bland discharge from the ear and pain, which
radiates to the face in ear troubles.
Pulsatilla 200, 5 pills 4 times a day helped cure this patients
is an excellent remedy for chronic ear, nose and throat problems.
These patients are highly susceptible to cold. They normally affected
by cold drafts of air, bathing with cold water, getting the hair
wet etc… they are also affected by changes in weather. In
these chronic cases there is usually a discharge from the affected
ear. This discharge is very foul and offensive. The ear feels blocked
and stuffed and this symptom is relieved when the person tries
to yawn or swallow. There is a difficulty in hearing and sometimes
the patient even complaints of a hissing sound in the ear.
Contrary to Pulsatilla the Silicea patient gets great relief from
warm room. They like to cover their heads as it gives relief.
200, 5 pills 4 times a day will help remove these chronic conditions.
is one of Dr. Schuessler's Biochemic remedy. But for problems like
Airplane ear or Barotrauma we use it in a Homoeopathic way as it
has proven to be very effective. It is especially useful where
the discharge is yellow in colour. If the patient presents with
symptoms like what is written in Pulsatilla but even after giving
Pulsatilla the patient does not get cured then it this remedy should
be thought of. A kali suph patient also cannot tolerate a warm
closed room as it aggravates his ear problems. They cannot tolerate
noise which because of the sensitivity of the ears. Sometimes they
lose their hearing temporarily which is known as Eustachian deafness.
Suph 200, 5 pills 4 times a day will bring back the hearing and
cure the eustachian problems.
though normally a homoeopath will not treat with specific remedies
for specific conditions, at times when there are no peculiar symptoms
individualizing the patient then these are used to give relief.
There are two wonderful remedies like that for this ear condition
too. If the cause of Airplane ear is directly the result of change
in air pressure and no other underlying cause is found these can
be given to give relief to the patient.
remedy is prescribed especially if the right ear is affected. The
patient experiences a sharp shooting pain in his right ear while
landing then give him Merc-I-F, 5 pills in repeated doses.
the left ear is affected then this remedy should be thought of.
This remedy is very effective when the patient says that the tube
feels closed and then opens with a pop. Merc-I-R , 5 pills repeated
often will give great relief.
do not use this article to self-medicate yourself and your family
for this problem. It is not advisable and can be dangerous especially
in case of a child. Please consult your Physician.
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