Medical Question: My Ear After a 2 Flights

Monday I had to fly with a cold/bronchitis thing, and I thought my ear drum would burst during landing on my outbound flight. It really hurt, and the sense of pressure was intense. Today, I returned home and the same thing happened during landing. Now I can’t hear out of that ear in any meaningful way. If I plug my good ear, I can vaguely hear a distant murmuring instead of voices. I feel dizzy. If I move my head, I hear crackling. My ear feels full and there’s a sense of pressure that extends from my ear into my right sinuses.

What to do? I’ve tried Sudafed, nasal spray, fluids, massage. Any other suggestions on how to make my ear feel better? Is this a “go see a doctor thing” or a “give it time” thing?

You are not my doctor. Thank you.

Have you tried the ear popping trick. Hold your nose and blow hard you will feel it in your ears. If you don’t have an infection it might clear up the stopped up feeling. Sometimes I do it and I can hear a glurgly sound.
But, wait. It might hurt really bad if it is infected. Maybe you better not do it. See your doc.

ETA vertigo is scary I get it if my ear is infected. So again, Doctor for you.

It’ll clear, in time. Until then it’s annoying as all hell. I hope it doesn’t get painful, I’ve had that a few times. Not fun.
Oh, sorry… can’t hear me?


Do you know what Similisan is. It’s otc ear drops. Homeopathic. It might help.

Your escutcheon tube (tube that joins the inner ear to the nasopharanx) was swollen shut and would not allow eqalisation of pressure to the middle ear, so pressure built up inside the inner ear. With lower jaw manipulation or Becka’s blowing method above, you can sometimes open up the tube to release the pressure but sometimes you can’t. In any case it will equalize on it’s own over a few days.

I had a similar problem in one ear recently, also following air travel, and tried a bunch of things, and here is what finally worked. An acupuncturist told me to jump up and down 10 times then drop my chin to my chest and slowly roll my head to one shoulder, my back, the other shoulder, and back to the chest. I forget how many times she said to roll it, and I don’t know what the jumping did, but it worked.

I should note that I also had this problem many years ago, only in both ears, my head felt like a total block of wood, and a doctor gave me some kind of shot. When I had this problem more recently I actuallky went to a doctor, who had no idea what kind of shot. But going forward, as I bitched about this, about every third person I talked to told me, “Oh yeah, I had that once, I went to a doctor and got some kind of shot, cleared it right up,” so I don’t know.

Anyway, the gist of this is, I went to a doctor, what she suggested (Flonase) did not work, I went to an acupuncturist who suggested the above, and that did work. Or maybe whatever I had going on just ended at that particular time. I figure it can’t hurt.

Nothing homeopathic has ever helped, beyond a possible placebo effect.

Oy vey. Beck, you probably think that “homeopathic” means “natural” or “made from plants” or “from the wisdom of the ancients” or something like that. The intent is good; the information is bad.

What it means, in its current incarnation, is distilled water being sold as medication. The idea behind modern homeopathy is that water “catches” the properties of stuff dissolved in it (this is called contagion): same as water becomes sweet if we dissolve sugar in it, salty if we dissolve salt, it also takes up the properties of anything else dissolved in it (say the homeopaths). Even without going into the whole pisspot about dilution making the contagion stronger (because as anybody who’s ever used it knows, super-diluted bleach is stronger than bleach directly from the bottle), it also means that, according to homeopaths,

every time a fish cums,

the whole of the oceans acquires the properties of fish cum

and every time a fumarole blows,

the whole of the oceans acquires the properties of arsenic and other heavy metals and of sulphurated compounds and starts smelling like rotten eggs.

Which if true would give the oceans a really bad case of multiple personality disorder, poor thing.

I think I’d check in with a doctor. A couple of days ago I read an article about why you shouldn’t fly with a cold, and they mentioned perforated ear drums as a possibility.

The symptoms include:
ear pain - you have
possibly drainage of fluid
dizziness - you have
ear noise or buzzing - maybe you have?
hearing loss - you have

With the exception of leaking puss, you have almost all the symptoms. That one might be coming, since I’ve known several people who said it hurt, hurt, hurt, then it suddenly burst and actually felt a bit better when the drainage started. If it hasn’t yet burst, a doctor might be able to keep it from doing so.

OP, if I were in your shoes I’d be visiting an urgent-care clinic.

Wow, I can’t believe you’re actually recommending this on a site dedicated to fighting ignorance. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Here’s Similisan. Active ingredients, according to their website:

Chamomilla 10X - sensitivity to drafts, soothing
Mercurius solubilis 15X - fullness, sensitivity to cold
Sulphur 12X - itchiness, sensitivity to water

The principles of homepathatic dilution state that a dilution of “1X” means that the active ingredient is diluted with water to 1/10 of its pure state. a dilution of “2X” means dilution to 1/10 performed twice in a row, i.e. the active ingredient is present at 1/100 of its pure state. So:

Chamomilla is present at 1/10,000,000,000 of its pure state.
Mercurius solubilis is present at 1/1,000,000,000,000,000 of its pure state.
Sulphur is present at 1/1,000,000,000,000 of its pure state.

At this point you may wish to review metric prefixes.

A few drops of water poured in your ear weighs a few milligrams. Which means one dose of this stuff contains femtograms of chamomilla, and attograms of Mercurius solubilis. Fentanyl is in the news for being super-deadly in small amounts, and a typical therapeutic (i.e. medically useful/non-deadly) dose is 50-100 micrograms. Absent any results from documented drug trials of Similasan conducted in accordance with FDA-approved protocols (and there aren’t any), there’s no reason to believe it would have a physiological effect any different from that of pure water.

Next time if you have to fly when you have a cold, I would recommend taking a pseudoephedrine before you take off.

NOT over the counter Sudafed. You need the stuff behind the pharmacist’s counter.

It reduces the swelling in your nose and Eustachian tubes and you will less likely have this problem.

If this is a regular thing for you, you might want to purchase a eustachian tube exerciser. The one I have is by Eustachi. To use it, you take a mouthful of water, insert the unit in the nostril matching your clogged ear, hold the other nostril closed, and then swallow the water. It puts some air pressure on your eustachian tube and can really do the trick most of the time. Sometimes it doesn’t help at all. It’s not at all painful. (Note: I have no interest in any company that makes or sells these units. I make no recommendations for any particular brand. I am not a doctor, though this was suggested to me by my friend, who IS a doctor.)

I’d say see a doctor immediately. It may be an ear infection, although I would expect an infection to be causing more pain. Ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss if not treated. It may also be something as simple as impacted ear wax, which a doctor would be able to remove easily.

Don’t mess around with ears, baby. Get to a doctor. There’s lots of stuff that you can do to make it worse if you don’t know what the problem is.

ETA: But first, see if your new hearing changes your answer to “Laurel or Yanny?” :smiley:

I did. :frowning:

I will go to urgent care.

Thank you everyone.

It’s important to distinguish untreated pure water from “Aqua 5C”, which is pure water droplets succussed in a pure water solution with 5x100-fold dilutions. The former is used to wash dirty ears, the latter is the homeopathic cure for drowning.

Nitpick, the eustachian tube is in the middle ear.

Another nitpick: OP says his discomfort began during the descent/landing phase of his flight. Cabin pressure was increasing during this time, which means that his inner ear, being unable to equalize, is now at a slight vacuum rather than at elevated pressure.

So might water, and it’s cheaper.

Similasan *

Even the manufacturer doesn’t claim it works.

Hey, I was trying to get her a bit of relief for over night. She’s been to the doctor now so it doesn’t matter. If a placebo works it works. Home remedies have a long history, most are woo, I know this. Some folks need to be doing something, anything, to help themselves. That’s all I was saying.