Questions about ear pain in flights or ear barotrauma answered by Dr. Raman Abrol

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  • 4 months ago
Dr. Raman Abrol
ENT Specialist / Otorhinolaryngology

Questions about ear pain in flights or ear barotrauma answered

In this video, SimpliHealth expert, Dr. Raman Abrol, ENT specialist is talking about ear pain in flights (उड़ान में कान दर्द) and answering related questions.

What are the complications associated with airplane ears?

The severe complication one can have in an Airplane ear is bleeding. There can be bleeding inside the ear, or there may be rupturing of the drum, which might cause bleeding. And there can be ear blockage for a long duration. 

So these are a few complications that are rare but are possible. 

Who is at risk of developing airplane ears?

In this regard, I would like to say that those patients who have a previous history of such problems need to be careful. If they have faced any symptoms in the ears during flight or have acquired this one or two times. Then they are at risk of developing this again. 

And the second thing is that any patient who already has a cold, cough or viral, or nose blockage needs to travel by air is at risk. That is why these people need to take extra precautions. They need to keep swallowing, keep doing Valsalva flying, keep on licking something so that they keep swallowing their saliva, and possibly take painkillers.

  

How is airplane ear diagnosed?

Diagnosis is not difficult as you have already experienced it before this. There will be some findings of the middle ear or ear drum; the doctor might detect fluid accumulation in the middle ear. You might have inflammation in the nose or you have developed sinusitis or URI (Upper Respiratory Infection). 

We can visualize all these clinical conditions by endoscopy. So clinical examinations are necessary to diagnose airplane ear. In addition, we do some tests for audiometry to check whether there is negative pressure or fluid in the ear or the drum is moving. Then we can perform all these tests for diagnosis.

How common is airplane ear?

The airplane is not that significantly common because in our body, nose, or ear we have appropriate mechanisms that can easily handle changes in pressure. For example, the tube that opens in the nose from the ear is efficient and does not get blocked easily. But those who are already having an infection or are allergic tend to acquire frequent infections; then, it is common among these patients. 

So they must be little aware of this condition. But, overall, in the general population, if 200 passengers are traveling in airplanes, one or two may have this problem. So it’s neither common nor uncommon.

Thank you very much.

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