Traveler’s Ear Outline
A change in pressure between the middle ear and the surrounding atmosphere can cause negative pressure and fluid to develop in the middle ear. Flying or scuba diving when the nose is congested and the ears cannot be “popped” causes problems. (See appendix #1)
Most common in children but can be seen with any age group.
- Blocked ear
- Painful Ear
- Decreased Hearing
- Ear drum—dull, retracted, can be reddish
- Immobile drum
- Air-fluid level or air bubbles
- Conductive hearing loss
- Type B or C tympanogram
- Possible antibiotics if infection starts to appear
The fluid will clear from most people’s ears in 3-4 days. People can aid in relieving the symptoms by “popping” the ears. The procedure for “popping” ears is as follows:
- Close the mouth,
- Pinch the nose shut and
- Gently blow pressure into the ears. (This is called a Toynbee or Valsalva maneuver.) The ears normally only open up and pop when a person swallows, yawns, screams, or “pops” the ears with pressure.
Don’t fly or go scuba diving with a congested nose.
NEVER sleep through an airplane landing and babies should be given something to swallow or nurse on.