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What is airplane ear?

ANSWER

Airplane ear is that feeling of pressure in your ears when an airplane is takes off and lands. It happens when the air pressure in your middle ear and the air pressure around you aren't balanced.

Anything that limits the way your eustachian tube works can bring it on. Some things can cause it are:

  • Diving
  • Middle ear infection (a.k.a. otitis media)
  • Sinus infection
  • Common cold
  • Hay fever

Airplane ear usually goes away when you yawn, swallow, or chew gum. If it seems severe, call your doctor.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Ear Wax and Care."

American Hearing Research Foundation: "Ear Wax."

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: "Causes of Hearing Loss in Adults."

American Tinnitus Association: "Causes," "Treatment Options," "Understanding the Facts."

Cleveland Clinic: "Cerumen Impaction."

Mayo Clinic: "Airplane Ear," "Meniere's Disease."

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: "Age-Related Hearing Loss," "Noise-Induced Hearing Loss."

Reviewed by Shelley A. Borgia on September 4, 2020

SOURCES:

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Ear Wax and Care."

American Hearing Research Foundation: "Ear Wax."

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: "Causes of Hearing Loss in Adults."

American Tinnitus Association: "Causes," "Treatment Options," "Understanding the Facts."

Cleveland Clinic: "Cerumen Impaction."

Mayo Clinic: "Airplane Ear," "Meniere's Disease."

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: "Age-Related Hearing Loss," "Noise-Induced Hearing Loss."

Reviewed by Shelley A. Borgia on September 4, 2020

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