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Is airplane ear muffling your hearing?

ANSWER

That feeling of pressure inside your ears when an airplane is takes off and lands is called airplane ear. It happens when the air pressure in your middle ear and the air pressure around you aren't in synch. 

Airplane ear doesn't just happen on planes. Anything that limits the way your eustachian tube -- which helps your ear keep the right air pressure -- works can increase your risk. Some common activities and conditions that can lead to airplane ear include:

A mild case of airplane ear can cause muffled hearing or some hearing loss, a feeling of "stuffiness" inside your ear, and possibly pain. goes away when you yawn, swallow, or chew gum. But if it lasts more than a few hours or seems severe, call your doctor. She may recommend decongestant sprays or pills, antihistamines, or over-the-counter pain relievers.

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

From: Why Is My Hearing Muffled? WebMD Medical Reference

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 Lisa Bernstein on August 1, 2018

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

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 Lisa Bernstein on August 1, 2018

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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