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This innocent flight habit could cost you your hearing

After the stresses of getting to the airport, not to mention last minute packing, it can be tempting to doze during takeoff. Here’s why you shouldn’t.

Early morning flights mean early morning wake ups and if you’re anything like me, it’s only once you’ve boarded your plane that the stresses of travel begin to ease. The temptation then to slip on an eye mask and headphones and drift to sleep is big.


But according to British pharmacist Angela Chalmers doing so could cause permanent damage to your ears.


“A quick change in altitude affects the air pressure in the ear,” Chalmers told Express.


“This leads to a vacuum in the Eustachian tubes which makes the ears feel blocked and sound dull.”


When this happens, we’re often told to yawn, swallow, drink water or chew gum to stop ears popping. There’s also that sexy move of blowing your nose while pinching it.


If we’re asleep, we obviously can't do these things.


“Try not to sleep during take-off and descent as you will not be swallowing as frequently and this can lead to blocked ears,” Chalmers said.


So why is it so important to reduce or equalize the air pressure in your ears? If your ears stay blocked, you potentially face health issues like dizziness, ear infections, eardrum damage, and at worst, nosebleeds and hearing loss, Express reported.


It’s also a good idea to be awake during important announcements which are generally made at the beginning of flights, so best to wait a bit before dozing off and ensure you're up to keep your ears from popping again on descent.


Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 4 September 2017

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