• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

Do you fly .....Do you like your hearing ?

1poorplayer

Power User
Just flew a 3 hour flight , nonstop to Fla last Wednesday . Within the last 30 minutes of the flight , the pilot decided to descend way to fast for about a minute or 2 ( so it seemed ).
Holy fkn she-it balls. Pain. Crazy-stupid inner ear pain. Like passengers bitching about not wanting to pay for their ticket , people holding their ears - in every row throughout the plane. I looked in the row behind me to see if my wife and 15 year old were ok and he was covering both ears , with tears in his eyes.

So , 2 trips to a doctor later , with my left ear plugged for 6 days straight , with pressure still , and with an apparent sinus bug I picked up during the trip , - I’m going to a specialist Friday morning to have a hole Lasered thru my eardrum , to prevent it from bursting during the flight home on Sunday. Lol. Happy Vacation right ?
I’m aware of the ear pressure situation , from flying in the past , but NEVER did I experience , nor did I expect this !
I’m not exactly crazy about the laser hole that’s coming. Like all of you , I’m pretty fond of my hearing. ( In both ears ).
Just wanted to share for those of you that fly - be forewarned.
I picked up some ear plugs for the ride home. Fingers crossed.
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
I'm a doctor of audiology and have to admit I've never heard of anyone using a laser for pressure relief. Generally all the procedures I've seen are done with a small scalpel for the insertion of pressure equalization tubes. I guess one could laser a small hole, which should heal quickly, in the event you have some Eustachian tube dysfunction which is preventing normal pressure equalization.

On the upside, I've seen pretty large holes, ruptured ear drums etc, heal nicely with no measurable effect on hearing. Will be curious to read up on this laser technique
 

Toopy14

Fractal Fanatic
A few years ago, flying into the Dominican on approach, my daughter started crying, complaining about pain in her ear. Once we landed, she seemed to be okay, so on the first day she went swimming. That night she had a high fever, so we took her to the resort doctor and he discovered that she had a ruptured her ear drum from the pressure on the plane and it got infected in the pool. She spent two days in bed. Fortunately, it was at the beginning of the trip, so after a few days on antibiotics, she was cleared to fly home.

On another trip, not so fortunate. She again got an ear infection but this time, she spent a night in the hospital, in Puerto Plata. The doctor would not let her fly until the ear cleared up. We ended spending an extra 8 days at the resort. The total cost for the medical care, hospital stay, ambulance, accommodation, food, bus to the airport and plane tickets, was close to $20,000! Every single penny was covered by the travel insurance policy we bought for less than $300. We were treated so well, by the doctors at the resort and hospital, the resort staff, Air Canada reps. and the insurance company, they were all amazing. They called us every day to see how we were doing, paid for anything they could upfront, like all the medical needs and plane tickets. They even provided us a with a secure site to exchange medical documents.

Anyone who travels abroad without travel/medical insurance, is taking a huge gamble!

I did figure out how to turn a 7 day stay into a 15 day stay, bring an eye dropper and pour pool water into my daughters ear when she's sleeping! ;)
 

MrGuitarabuse

Fractal Fanatic
Dang... I am on a flight 2-3 times a month, while god damn tiresome often, my ears having no issues from altitude adjustments up/down during the flight due to weather or whatever reasons
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
It’s not an ear issue but a Eustachian tube issue 99% of the time. It’s how the ears equalize pressure, do if the tube is plugged, genetically narrow etc, the ear drum is subjected to pressure and in rare cases can rupture.

Flying with bad colds or sinus issues can really be an uncomfortable experience. What feels simply full and plugged up at sea level can stretch the ear drum to painful levels when you have a real elevation change
 

1poorplayer

Power User
My ear drum was badly bruised , and a blood vessel burst , from the descent. I had blood on a Q tip the next day.
If it weren’t for the sinus issue that showed up after the flight , while my eardrum was swollen , I don’t think I’d be in this predicament.
I guess it was the “perfect storm” for ear trouble.
The pain from the rapid descent WAS real and unexpected though. Before my Eustachian tube became blocked , my ear still hurt like crazy.
To see my 15 year old - red faced and holding both ears , trying not to cry , made me realize this wasn’t a personal issue. The guy directly across the isle was holding one of his ears , and there were shouts from people behind me throughout the plane about THEIR ears hurting.
@Toopy14 - glad you made out ok. I feel for your daughter. I’ve never had ear problems or ear pain before.

Not hearing out of one ear for 7 days while having pressure in it , has been interesting. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
I don’t have to fly. We fly for family vacation only. I think I’ll drive from now on.
I’ll post after the hole tomorrow.
Thanks @lqdsnddist for the reassurance. Will fluid from the Eustachian tube drain thru the hole in the ear drum ?
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
My ear drum was badly bruised , and a blood vessel burst , from the descent. I had blood on a Q tip the next day.
If it weren’t for the sinus issue that showed up after the flight , while my eardrum was swollen , I don’t think I’d be in this predicament.
I guess it was the “perfect storm” for ear trouble.
The pain from the rapid descent WAS real and unexpected though. Before my Eustachian tube became blocked , my ear still hurt like crazy.
To see my 15 year old - red faced and holding both ears , trying not to cry , made me realize this wasn’t a personal issue. The guy directly across the isle was holding one of his ears , and there were shouts from people behind me throughout the plane about THEIR ears hurting.
@Toopy14 - glad you made out ok. I feel for your daughter. I’ve never had ear problems or ear pain before.

Not hearing out of one ear for 7 days while having pressure in it , has been interesting. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
I don’t have to fly. We fly for family vacation only. I think I’ll drive from now on.
I’ll post after the hole tomorrow.
Thanks @lqdsnddist for the reassurance. Will fluid from the Eustachian tube drain thru the hole in the ear drum ?

Usually small perforations heal so quickly they can’t act as a drain of sorts. For folks who have chronic issues, they put a tube through the ear drum which basically keeps the hole open, so you can’t build up pressure or fluid behind the ear drum. Basically it’s job is to do what the Eustachian tube doesn’t do very well.


Chewing gum can often help since it’s the movement of the jaw that can stretch the tube a bit and get it to open up and help relieve pressure, yawning helps too

Decongestants and such can also be a good idea before hand as they can help reduce sinus pressure and swelling, which in turn can help open the Eustachian tube. This is basically why people can feel their hearing decreases when they have colds.

It’s certainly uncomfortable and can be kind of scary even, especially for a musician as we value our hearing so much (though many also stand in front of a cranked amp ironically) but it’s not too serious of medical issue, all things considered.

See far more significant issues with folks who scuba dive. We are talking about some serious pressure issues in those cases and it can result in ruptures in the cochlear called fistulas, and risk for some permanent damage to hearing and or balance.

I think you’ll be feeling better soon though and all should be essentially back to normal, I see this all day long and it does get better.
 

1poorplayer

Power User
Usually small perforations heal so quickly they can’t act as a drain of sorts. For folks who have chronic issues, they put a tube through the ear drum which basically keeps the hole open, so you can’t build up pressure or fluid behind the ear drum. Basically it’s job is to do what the Eustachian tube doesn’t do very well.


Chewing gum can often help since it’s the movement of the jaw that can stretch the tube a bit and get it to open up and help relieve pressure, yawning helps too

Decongestants and such can also be a good idea before hand as they can help reduce sinus pressure and swelling, which in turn can help open the Eustachian tube. This is basically why people can feel their hearing decreases when they have colds.

It’s certainly uncomfortable and can be kind of scary even, especially for a musician as we value our hearing so much (though many also stand in front of a cranked amp ironically) but it’s not too serious of medical issue, all things considered.

See far more significant issues with folks who scuba dive. We are talking about some serious pressure issues in those cases and it can result in ruptures in the cochlear called fistulas, and risk for some permanent damage to hearing and or balance.

I think you’ll be feeling better soon though and all should be essentially back to normal, I see this all day long and it does get better.
Thank you very much for the information. I appreciate the help !
 

Rich G.

Experienced
I used to fly a lot. I'd occasionally have pain as you're describing. Especially when I was stuffed up. Couple things that helped during the flight were a) yawning and b) chewing gun. These helped relieved the pressure before it got to be too much.
 

USMC_Trev

Fractal Fanatic
Just flew a 3 hour flight , nonstop to Fla last Wednesday . Within the last 30 minutes of the flight , the pilot decided to descend way to fast for about a minute or 2 ( so it seemed )..
Your pilot didn't just decide to do that. He most likely got late permission to descend into the arrival procedure by ATC and had to hustle down although he was probably asking to get let down earlier so he didn't have to dump a whole bunch of altitude and make everyone uncomfortable. This could have been due to other traffic or weather (probably weather). Getting routed into a busy STAR with weather around is a pain in every part of the ass.

Pilots don't just "do stuff" for shits and grins with millions of dollars worth of equipment (i.e. the airframe), people's lives (and their own asses) and at the very least, their careers.

Yes I'm a pilot.
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
Learn to valsalva. If you need help with this (some people just aren't able to clear) bring gum with you and pop a piece in before the descent. This will help you with the technique.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valsalva_maneuver
Generally if a patient has Eustachian tube dysfunction they can’t valsalva. If you can’t easily force positive pressure up into your ear, the ear won’t have the ability to vent excess pressure out of the tube.

It can be a good idea to do in some cases for folks that have chronic issues in that it helps keeping the tube from sticking shut, but, it should be done with caution as some folks can over do it and cause some additional problems. Use common sense, don’t blow with all your might and you’ll be fine
 

JJunkie

Power User
Aha..So it was YOU!

Your pilot didn't just decide to do that. He most likely got late permission to descend into the arrival procedure by ATC and had to hustle down although he was probably asking to get let down earlier so he didn't have to dump a whole bunch of altitude and make everyone uncomfortable. This could have been due to other traffic or weather (probably weather). Getting routed into a busy STAR with weather around is a pain in every part of the ass.

Pilots don't just "do stuff" for shits and grins with millions of dollars worth of equipment (i.e. the airframe), people's lives (and their own asses) and at the very least, their careers.

Yes I'm a pilot.
 

1poorplayer

Power User
Your pilot didn't just decide to do that. He most likely got late permission to descend into the arrival procedure by ATC and had to hustle down although he was probably asking to get let down earlier so he didn't have to dump a whole bunch of altitude and make everyone uncomfortable. This could have been due to other traffic or weather (probably weather). Getting routed into a busy STAR with weather around is a pain in every part of the ass.

Pilots don't just "do stuff" for shits and grins with millions of dollars worth of equipment (i.e. the airframe), people's lives (and their own asses) and at the very least, their careers.

Yes I'm a pilot.
This may be true. I can say , he sounded very inexperienced on the mic , and when we landed , I got a look at him , and from his looks , I’d say he was about 16 and 1/2 years old. Likely coincidental , but makes me wonder. I’ve flown probably 30 times ( not counting a ride in a home built plane with a rotax engine , taking off from a hay field ) , so certainly no where near as much as you or many here , but I’ve usually been able to deal with the pressure changes using the normal tricks , like the ones mentioned. This one was unexpected and a little extreme.
BUT , on the bright side , we landed on the wheels , and stopped before the end of the runway.
 

OldSnail

Inspired
The last time I get my ass and ears in a plane, I did not land with the plane !
Never got problem descending as fast as free-falling.
But I wouldn’t do it with a rhino-sinusitis...(a bit of medrol helps but I take it at my own risks).
 

jefferski

Fractal Fanatic
@lqdsnddist - what do you think about using Afrin or some other type of nasal spray? I generally never try to use stuff like that but I've heard it's good for flying for the same reasons you mentioned - clearing the sinuses and reducing pressure.

The worst experience I've had with pressure was landing in LA to go to NAMM (of all things!!). Fortunately it wasn't too bad (and it probably helped block out some of the cacophony in the exhibit halls ;-), and we had time so I rented a car and drove back to Salt Lake City.
 
Top Bottom