6 Tips to Prevent Sinus & Ear Pressure When You Fly
- Posted on: May 29 2018
The summer travel season is coming and with that comes airplane trips to exciting places. That may also mean for some of us difficulties clearing our ears and bad sinus pressure during the flight. The reason for these issues comes down to physics.
Why Do I Feel Ear Pressure On A Plane?
During the ascent the air pressure in our middle ear or sinus cavities expands. The air will actually leave the middle ear and the sinus cavity and go in to the airplane cabin. During descent the air pressure in our middle ear or sinus cavities is compressed. There is less air pressure in those spaces than in the airplane cabin. We sense this as a squeeze or “negative pressure”.
If the Eustachian tube that leads to the ear cannot equilibrate (provide new air to the middle ear) then severe ear pressure will increase as you descend. This can cause fluid in the middle ear and hearing loss. If the natural sinus outflow tracts cannot equilibrate (provide new air to the sinus) then severe sinus pressure will increase as you descend. This can create a sinus infection.
Ways to Reduce Ear Pressure
The following can be done to prevent/reduce these symptoms:
- Allergy medicines prior to the travel season is the best way to reduce these symptoms.
- Prior to flight taking an oral decongestant can also be of assistance.
- The use of a topical nasal decongestant 30 minutes before the plan starts it’s descent can also be very helpful.
- Drinking water during descent can also help.
- A valsalva (pinch your nose closed and blow your nose) frequently during descent can also help.
- Chewing gum during descent can also help.
If this is a frequent issue for you then seeing us can be very helpful. We can evaluate the sinus anatomy with a miniCT scan and offer non-surgical balloon sinuplasty to alleviate this issue. We can also do needle free allergy skin testing and use allergy drop therapy to relieve your allergies.
Travel without ear and sinus pressure this year using these helpful hints!