Above the Clouds: How to Overcome Tinnitus while Flying

If you suffer from tinnitus at any degree, you know how difficult dealing with this condition can be. You also understand how flying can exacerbate the symptoms of tinnitus, making you more miserable than usual. The constant ringing, swishing, whistling, head pain and ear fullness that is often associated with tinnitus seems to become worse when flying ­ causing many to forgo traveling. The truth is that you don't have to miss out on traveling due to a tinnitus flare­up or over the concerns that your flight might trigger a flare­up. There are some simple tips that you can follow that will minimize the symptomatic annoyances associated with this condition.


Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Many people find that their tinnitus begins to flare­up when it's time to travel ­ even before you board the plane. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is the fact that one of the triggers for tinnitus is stress. Many people suffer from pre­trip stress. Some people fear flying, so every flight comes with a certain level of stress. Others stress out because of the multitudinous issues that always seem to surface during flights. Either way, the rise in your stress levels could be triggering your tinnitus flare­ups.

Develop a routine that allows you to relax. One way to do this is reduce caffeine intake at least one to two days prior to your flight. Your home is normally your most relaxed environment, so it is the perfect place to begin your relaxation process. Keep your stress triggers to a minimum. If that means not answering the phone, turn the ringer off.

Noise Reduction

One of the major concerns with flying for anyone is the dangers of suffering hearing damage due to the loud engine noises made by the plane. This is a reasonable and valid concern. Healthy hearing should always be a priority. Those suffering with tinnitus should use even more caution when it comes to exposing themselves to excess noise. Not only can the noise trigger your tinnitus, it can also cause further damage to your hearing.

Use some form of hearing protection. You can purchase some quality earplugs to help minimize the noise level. Be sure to use your earplugs during takeoff and landing ­ when the engine noise will be the loudest. You can also book seats that are further away from the engines in order to reduce the noise level.

Cabin Pressure The pressurized cabin on an airplane can also create some discomfort for you. This is due to the pressure blocking the Eustachian tube which prevents air bubbles from popping. This can create pain and discomfort. One of the most common ways of dealing with this is to mimic the act of chewing and swallowing. This activity actually opens up the Eustachian ­ relieving the pressure.

Many people choose to chew gum during flights.

There are ways to lessen the negative impact that tinnitus can have on your travel plans. Following these few simple tips will go a long ways in increasing your level of comfort as you travel.

Kenneth Bassett is an ear guru. He studies and blogs about hearing challenges and what an everyday person can do to help find relief.