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Why do I get ear pain while travelling by air?

Q: I have problems with my ears while travelling on a plane. Sometimes, I used to get a sharp pain in my ear, which moved to the front of my head and then to the eyes. It usually cleared up within a few days. But now I keep getting shooting pains through my right ear, which I have had over a week now. Why is this happening? It only happens when my ears pop on the plane and hurt really bad.

A:These are pressure changes that take place during flight and it usually affects more when the tubes connecting the ear and the nose are blocked due to cold or some infection. I would advise you to instill nasal drops one hour before you take the flight. Do not sleep when the flight is descending; just pop in a chewing gum or some toffee so that you can keep swallowing. Swallowing helps open the tubes and clears the pressure and hence the pain.

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