If you ask us what is the worst part about flying, we would say it is the bubbling air pressure in our ears that we suffer during takeoff and landing. While for some the pain is excruciating, for others, it is just uncomfortable. A lot of us take to chewing gum to release the pressure from our ears. But is it a healthy practice to chew gum to reduce the pain caused by ear pressure? Here’s what experts suggest.
What Causes Ear Pain During Flying?
The discomfort you feel in your ears due to the changing pressure levels is a condition called ear barotrauma. This condition affects a part of your inner ear called the eustachian tube which helps equalise pressure between the air outside and inside your ear. The pressure remains the same when you stay put at a constant altitude. However, different altitudes have different air pressures, which constantly change during flying.
How Does Chewing Gum Work For Providing Relief?
During ascend or descend, your eustachian tube can’t quite catch up to the rapid changes which build the pressure and causes pain. Chewing gum helps create equilibrium in your ears. When we chew gum, we open the eustachian tube in our ears and allow the air with the new atmospheric pressure to reach our inner ear. This gives us relief.
What Are The Side Effects Of Chewing Gum During Flying?
However, some experts advise against chewing gum for relief, and here’s why. Chewing gum causes you to swallow air which can make you feel bloated during your journey. Instead, you can yawn, swallow, pinch your nose or close your mouth to pop your ears and equalize the pressure.
Special earplugs are also available for purchase that help your ears adapt to different pressures and avoid any painful pressure buildup.