ScottishLaddie
Topic Author
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Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:20 am

Who else gets really sore ears when descending from high altitude? It's the one part of flying which I could do with out. I'm not affected normally on takeoff, just when landing. I'm sure I can't be alone.
 
Demoose
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:29 am

I used to, and I really didn't enjoy it at all. I think I just learnt to 'pop' my ears and I never have any trouble now. I know its not so easy for everyone to cure this problem as my mum still gets that horrible pain in the ears when on descent, I guess I can only suggest the usual; have a boiled sweet to suck on.

Mark
Take a ride...fly across the sky
 
FLYtoEGCC
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:33 am

Same here. If the boiled sweet trick doesn't work, squeeze your nose and try to blow through it, as hard as necessary. This will "clear" your ears, but you might have to keep doing as you descend.

I used to be really badly affected by nosebleeds after landing. I used to get them fairly frequently anyway, but it was guaranteed I'd get them after flying. I remember my dad having to dash me to the toilets in Geneva airport immediately after we disembarked because it suddenly started pouring. Fortunately I don't get them too badly any more. Anyone else have this trouble?
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away...
 
TYSGoVols
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:38 am

I do it on descent and ascent however, my mom found these things at Wal Mart and you can find them on the Internet as well. They are called ear planes. It is an ear plug with a hollow space in the middle. Half way down that space there is a very small amount of something like a gel or something. It allows you ears to pressurise slowly. Without them I would probably never fly again. The first time I ever flew over twenty five thousand I thought I was going to die. On descent into CDG I felt as though someone was plunging an ice pick into my head. I fly by the ear planes. If you want to try them and can't find them let me know I am sure I can help you get some somehow. They are only good for two or three flights though at least that is what the package says they start loosing some working power after like four flights. You take them out after reaching flight level and put them in just before you think descent is going to happen.

In Christ
Garen B.
Rocky Top You'll Always be home sweet home to me, Good ole' Rocky Top WOOOOO
 
FLYtoEGCC
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:43 am

Oh yeah, you can get them in the UK too! In fact I should have remembered that, I worked at a very well-known high street chemist store for three years and I used to see them sitting on the shelf every day! I never used them though.
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away...
 
DeltaMD11
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:45 am

My ears will rarely hurt when descending (never happens on the ascent). Usually my ears will just pop when descending, no pain really. However, I remember this one Delta flight in particular from SLC-SAN on a 752. The descent into SAN was horrible--I was in a good deal of discomfort and there were several children on the plane whom were crying from the pain. A lot of people seemed to be holding their ears. Was very strange because I've never had that happen before but a lot of people were having problems with their ears. There was even some lady in the same row as mine on the other side of the aircraft that was crying from the pain.
Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
 
flymia
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:48 am

Yea everyone gets it. Especially in A chalks Mallard at 9,000FT. But i have a question to pilots. Do you get used to it after a while or do your ears pop alot. I would not want them to when talking to ATC!
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
FLYtoEGCC
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:49 am

I would guess it depends on the rate of descent. If ATC has asked the pilot to expedite to a certain level, the rate of descent increases, and the cabin air pressure increases much more quickly, giving your body less time to adjust. I doubt it's to do with the aircraft type, I've been on ten 757 flights and never had a problem.
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away...
 
DeltaMD11
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:51 am

hehe Fly...I know it's not endemic to 757's. I have 32 flights in that I can count since July of 1996 on 757's (it's nice to have family sprawled throughout the country....all the more reason to travel lol) and this was my first encounter with extreme ear pain.
Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
 
ScottishLaddie
Topic Author
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:53 am

Once when descending I was blocked up with the cold and it felt like my face was going to explode! It was really painful. The discomfort normally felt in the ears I was also feeling in my sinuses I guess, anyway it was hell and boy was I glad to have that flight end.
I've experienced a flight like that before DeltaMD11, it was a really rough descent and my ears were majorly aching and some children were in tears because of the pain.
 
FLYtoEGCC
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:59 am

DeltaMD11
"...it's nice to have family sprawled throughout the country....all the more reason to travel lol..."

Lucky you Big grin I wish the UK was a bit bigger, most of my family live within an hour or so drive away, and even the for the ones who live right down in the south it's cheaper and more practical to drive than fly  Sad

EDIT: P.S. sorry for getting off topic.

[Edited 2004-02-19 03:00:36]
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away...
 
VC745D
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:06 am

It might be that people grow out of this problem, although I've been assuming that more modern aircraft with better pressurization systems have something to do with it. In the days of DC8s/707 etc, f/a's used to give you a hot wet towel in a paper cup to hold up to your ear--it seemed to work.
 
LHR340
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:09 am

I had really bad ear problems whilst descending in to LHR on the 12th, I have never had it so bad and I am never affected by the pressure, but I couldn't hear out of 1 ear properly and it drove me crazy. I'm not sure if its the A321 or London...Or maybe it was because I wasn't chewing gum, I normally chew gum on takeoffs and landings.

LHR340
A340 LoVeR! EC-GQK - LHR The Bussiest International Airport & 3rd Bussiest In The World!
 
TYSGoVols
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:12 am

I just have a lot of sinus and ear infections. My Dr once told me he believed I was born with one. As for the little kids. My mom read an article in one of her magazines (it was the same one that she read about the ear planes in) the guy that invented them is actually over some kind of national ear health institute or something of that nature here in the states and he was on a flight with a crying baby. He told the F/A who he was and what he needed to do get the baby to stop crying. He used two plastic cups and a warm damp cloth in each and put them on the kids ears. Within a matter of a few minutes the kid had quite. Did you realize that your ear drums can actually rupture . The kids Dr. found out through a later visit that the guy had actually saved the kids ear drums. Probably looked like a dork with those plastic cups stuck to his head but he wasn't crying. I wished I had known that on that DFW CDG flight dork or not I was already crying so what else could be worse? Our ascent and descent were really not that extreme I just have sensitive ears. Trying to pop them really doesn't help me all that much. This is going to be a bit gross but when I fly I find that if I don't outwardly belch as opposed to doing the closed mouthed burp my ears hurt too.

In Christ
Garen B.
Rocky Top You'll Always be home sweet home to me, Good ole' Rocky Top WOOOOO
 
FLYtoEGCC
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:15 am

Nothing wrong with a good belch, mate  Big thumbs up
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away...
 
ETStar
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:16 am

As mentioned above, it gets so worse when flying with a cold... hurt to the point that I could not sit up straight, simply cannot describe it. Even cold medicine does not help!
 
loggat
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:18 am

The reason that your ears hurt is because of the increase in air pressure in the cabin on descent, relative to the cabin air pressure at higher altitudes. At cruise altitude, the cabin pressure is about the equivalent of air at 8,000ft. As you come down, the pressure increases to normal levels, which pushes on your ear drums. The air in your ear canals had gotten used to the 8,000ft air pressure, and now has to try and level itself out with the outside air. By holding your nose and trying to blow air out of your ears, you are trying to open up the drums to allow air to equilibriate between the two. If you can't get the air to balance inside and outside of your head, it feels like your head is being pounded. If you have a sinus infection, you will be even more stuffed up, making it feel much worse. Hope this clarifies the reason for it, and why it is a landing issue and not a takeoff issue.

The worst airplane I have been on and experienced this problem is both NWA and CO DC-10's on international flights to and from LGW. International flights will generally make your ears feel the pain longer because they have spent a longer time at the 8,000ft cabin pressure altitude.

Regards
Peter
There are 3 types of people in this world, those that can count, and those that can't.
 
goboeing
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:26 am

I don't fly jets, but my ears don't pop anymore, and the vertical speed on descent in a light aircraft that your ears are exposed to is actually more than in the cabin of a pressurized aircraft. In a jet, it's maybe only 500 FPM or so, but I have had to descent at over 3,000 FPM due to an emergency and my ears didn't pop and my instructor didn't say anything about his ears hurting either. Maybe they get used to it. They didn't pop on the last commercial flight I took either.

Nick
 
yhmfan
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:23 pm

Flying with blocked sinuses after a cold can be painful and dangerous.
I did this only once on a BHX-LHR-YYZ flight. After landing at LHR (it was a prop) I had to go and see the duty physician who would not let me continue on to YYZ. He told me that I could potentially rupture my ear drums!
If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you
 
crjdispatchkid
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:27 pm

I think it has to do something with the age of the a/c. I find that older a/c make my ears hurt more. This might be due to older pressurization systems. For example, when I'm on a NW DC-9 my right ear feels like it might explode on decent, but when I'm on one of our CRJ's my ears are fine. Just a hypothesis.
Thanks...C-Ya...Bye
 
tcfc424
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:34 pm

This is JUST SPECULATION, however I would be inclined to believe that ear pressurization and pain is affected by the rate of ascent and descent. During takeoff and ascent, the aircraft is climbing quickly, and pressure equalization occurs quickly, providing only brief discomfort that is usually forgotten by the time descent comes around, thus the reason for no one complaining about the ascent phase of flight. Descents however occur at varying rates, and the longer the descent, the longer the discomfort. I have noticed that my ears hurt longer and more painfully during slow descents as opposed to those descents which are quicker.

Just my 2 cents.

Mike S. in AUS
 
ACEregular
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:51 am

I used to suffer really badly with my ears on flights. I can remember flying on a Britannia 737-200 from NCL-ALC when I was about 9 years old and the pain had me screaming and kicking the seat in front, nothing could stop it. And on most flights after that I would usually storm off (very bad tempered) and the family would know not to come near me until my ears settled a bit.

I have rarely suffered anything for years now. I was dreading it as part of my life when I began flying as crew but most of the time I notice nothing, whilst kids squall all around me I am fine. on Sunday 15th of Feb however I must have been a bit bunged up because on the last sector of the day during descent I thought my right eye was going to be ejected from my head, the pain was excrutiating. I have flown since and I am back to normal.
 
WorldAV8R
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:57 am

I have come to think that with more air travel, your ears begin to adjust to the pressure changes. Mind you this takes half a lifetime to accrue. Companions of mine who have flown far fewer times complain regularly. One companion who had only travelled several times by air suffered MISERABLY for the next 24 or so hours, on one particular trip.

Happily, I can say that my ears adjust by the time we hit the runway. Thanks to years of travelling.
Next Trip: STL-ORD-LHR-ATH-JMK
 
Demoose
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:57 am

ACEregular, funny you should say that. As a child I flew on Britannia's 732's numerous times and ALWAYS got really bad pains in my ears on decent. The bizarre thing was it was never on the return flights into Manchester, only on the outbound flights. My parents said at the time it was because we were flying to small Greek Island airports which required faster decent, although I doubt this is the case. It always took a few days for my ears to get back to normal.
Take a ride...fly across the sky
 
airmale
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:00 am

It happened to me only once when I had an accident and my spine was injured, I was 14 then, it was awful to think I may have to endure it forever but thank God it vanished on its own, was pretty bad, let me tell you that, popping ears pale in comparison.
.....up there with the best!
 
RayBolt
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:15 am

I was told that it can be dangerous to do the 'hold your nose and blow.' It is possible to rupture your ear drums by doing it. It was recommended that you try holding your nose and swallowing instead. Sometimes just chewing gum or sucking on candies can help a lot.

Dan
You can't join the MHC on the ground.
 
aircraft88
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:31 am

Hi!

The worst iv'e every had was when we were decending into ATL from LAS with DL on a 763. I kept having really quick pains in my ears which really stung. I ended up putting my table down infront of me and holding onto my ears! lol

Then once we were in the terminal I could hardally hear anything!

Its weird though because I never have this problem when I fly within the UK. It just seems to be when I fly further.

Thanks,

Jamie.

Yeah but no but yeah but no but yeah but no!
 
Pe@rson
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:36 am

I fly pretty regularly and sometimes suffer, although it's not normally overly bad. I find holding my nose tightly and blowing in tends to help.
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
FLIBOYZ
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:49 am

In November of '03, I was flying home and on the descent I started to get some fluttering in my ears. Well it got blocked and stayed that way for almost 2 months. I had to go and get my eardrum slit to drain the fluids inside and get a tube put in, which is now there for about a year. I also found out that I had a sinus infection. As a F/A, the Doctor did not release me back to work until Feb. 1, 2004. Not good.

If you have a cold, a sinus infection, I suggest to anyone don't fly!!!! You could lose hearing.

With the blocked ear like that for so long, it damages some nerves also. I took a hearing test during the blocked ear and had about 40% hearing loss. After the minor surgery, I got a little over half my hearing back. Now I am almost back to normal.

Not good.
 
LH423
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:49 am

Normally I'm not affected by this, however I have had two instances that stand out.

First was in 1997. I flew BOS-ORD-MSP. No pain so much but after I landed and right through my return to Boston some days later the inside of my ear had swollen because of a fluid build-up that wouldn't drain. It did affect my hearing a bit.

More recently, in March I flew BOS-LHR-CDG and the approach into LHR on a 777 I experienced the worst pain I had ever felt from pressure. I wanted to cry and there was nothing I could really do. It eventually went away in time for my connection to CDG but man that was painful.

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
alcregular
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:53 am

ACEregular & Demose,

It must be a Britannia thing. I was really bad on my first flight when I was 9 years old. Partly because the pressure wasn't fully built up in the cabin. One of the cabin crew gave me something to sniff (I thought it was to drink, good job I didn't.) You can tell what sort of person I have become, thinking you can drink anything. Must take after the parents!
Why drive when you can fly?
 
TYSGoVols
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Mon Mar 01, 2004 3:56 am

I do the whole can't hear thing afterwards a lot too. When ever I travel with a group I always wind up yelling at people so I can hear what I say. As far as age of the plane goes.
who knows my worst ever was an AA 767-??? My easiest flight on the ears was the one right before that on an AA 727 I had maybe a two hour layover in Dallas. I think I notice when the altitude of the airplane changes that I have more problems.

In Christ
Garen B.
Rocky Top You'll Always be home sweet home to me, Good ole' Rocky Top WOOOOO
 
nycfuturepilot
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:48 am

It used to effect me a lot however it hasn't been as much since i started flying more often. However, i had a sinus infection when I was going to MCO one time and had the worst pain during the decent that i think i've ever had in my life (my ears hurt a little but my sinuses were the worst).
Father, Son, HOYA spirit
 
AvianceGirlUK
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Mon Mar 01, 2004 4:58 am

Hell yeh, i remember as a kid flying to and from Amsterdam with my parents to see a friend quite a bit on BMI and whenever we got home and put the kettle on, my nose would bleed for ages. One time it bled for an hour and mum nearly called an ambulance she was wetting herself. Then on an Ansett Flight from PER-MEL on decent i had the most terrible pain in my head and I too thought i was going to explode.. It doesnt happen anymore thank god but oh my, i will never forget that intense pain.
 
MYT332
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:08 am

Back in 1995 i remember having really bad pressure in my ears on approach to MAN. It was the worst pain id ever suffered and i so wanted to be anywhere but on this AIH a320 buffeting around stockport. From then on i used them little blue magical 'ear planes' which are absolutely great, no troubles when i used them. I forgot them once and accidentally checked them in with my suitcase, but i found that the huge old headphones onboard BY aircraft work just as well to maintain pressure in your ears!!

Thankfully as i've got older i don't suffer from bad ears on flights anymore!

One Life, Live it.
 
LV
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:14 am

I find chewing gum really helps with this...the constant moving of the jaw moves the ear tubes around helping to equal the pressure. So whenever I fly I always make sure I have gum with me
 
ScottishLaddie
Topic Author
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:18 am

I use chewing gum, but also doing a yawning motion with your mouth seems to do the trick as well!  Smile
 
A330Jamaica
Posts: 56
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:21 am

Sometimes forcing a yawn repeatedly can minimize the effects. I rarely have that problem nowadays.
 
dc-10 levo
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:27 am

I usually get ear-ache when we descend quite fast - it's alright if we begin the descent quite a way out but when there is a sudden drop they really hurt. On a flight back from SFB the F/A gave me something to sniff - don't know what it was but it worked!

DC-10
 
jcxp15
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:30 am

The process of holding your nose and blowing out is called the Vasalva. You should only do this on decent, as if you do it on ascent, it's likely you'll rupture your ear drums. When you do the Vasalva you want to pinch up towards the middle/top of your nose and blown out quickly. The quicker you do it will help you open up the air "channels" in the ear, and let your ears pressurize more quickly.
Ear problems generally don't hurt on the way up, but can hurt really bad when decending. The steeper the decent, the more your ears will hurt as they have to try to adjust more quickly. I've been to psysiological training (i.e. altitude chamber), training all Air Force pilots have to go through usually in UPT. Basically it's designed to simulate a rapid decompression at altitude (they took us up to 25,000') and the symptoms you'll feel with less oxygen, and when you need to get your mask back on. Anyway, on the decent, because they drop you pretty quickly (probably from FL250 to 8,000' in a matter of minutes), many people's ears really start to hurt, and the only thing you can really do is the vasalva...
 
RonE
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RE: Painful Ears When Descending

Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:34 am

"Same here. If the boiled sweet trick doesn't work, squeeze your nose and try to blow through it, as hard as necessary. This will "clear" your ears, but you might have to keep doing as you descend."

Actually, you might want to be careful doing that. I tried it once too often and my ears became even more clogged up.

On a flight between HKG and BNE a few years back, I was so clogged, I was in real pain for about 6 hours after landing. Then finally, the pressure suddenly adjusted and I felt this huge POP- I thought my head was exploding. That was REALLY painful.

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