On my last trip home I ended up damaging my ear, and as result I had some temporary hearing loss. I have completely recovered, but since this is not fun, I thought I’d share my experience with you along with what I learned about avoiding this type of situation.
While traveling home from
(recovering from a slight cold), I woke up to find that my left ear felt as if it was still under pressure; sound was muffled, and there was some slight pain that came and went. I thought that my ear was still adjusting to the pressure changes, but no amount of gum chewing relieved the pressure. On subsequent flights, the descent caused the ear pain to come back; it was quite uncomfortable. Russia
When the pain subsided, I noticed that my hearing continued to be impaired. I could hear between 25% and 75% of what I was used to hearing. This definitely wasn't normal air pressure adjustment.
Upon arriving at home
After doing a bit of research, I found that my condition is referred to as barotrauma (pressure damage), commonly known as Airplane Ear. Airplane Ear can be much milder than my case, but it could cause permanent hearing loss. Web MD has an informative article about Airplane Ear that I enjoyed.
The doctor told me that if I was traveling with nasal congestion I could take an over-the-counter decongestant or antihistamine to help avoid this type of situation in the future. If you are a frequent traveler, it might be worth a trip to your doctor to see if this makes sense for you, but I'll definitely be following this advice in the future because hearing loss, even if it is only temporary, is no fun.
Have you ever experienced travel related hearing problems?
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