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Acute ear pain when flying. Done mastoid operation in childhood. Can you explain this?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1999
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My wife had a mastoid operation when she was a child. Whenever she flies she experiences acute pain in that ear when the plane descends to land -ie when the pressure increases. This is a serious inhibitor to us flying. Can you explain this (is this standard experience ? ) and is there anything that can be done ?
Many thanks
Posted Tue, 2 Oct 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Rajeev Chavda 45 minutes later
Welcome to XXXXXXX
I am happy to answer your query, the condition of airplane ear, medically known as ear barotrauma, occurs when the pressure inside of one eardrum is different than the other. The Eustachian tube is a canal in the ear that allows air to flow into the middle ear to balance pressure. The fast descending and ascending that takes place in air travel causes air pressure to change at a pace more rapid than the ear can handle. For your wife who's experiencing it can take an antihistamine, oral decongestant or decongestant spray. To treat the condition without medication, you can use a maneuver called valsalva to force the air from the ear. Hold the nose shut while forcing air through the nose as though you were blowing it. prevention of airplane ear can be attained by yawning or taking XXXXXXX swallows during the descent or ascent of a flight. Avoid sleeping when a plane is taking off or landing; sleeping allows pressure to build in the ear. Wearing ear plugs and filtering them during the flight helps relieve pressure. Hope I have answered your query and kindly revert for any clarifications. Thanks
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