Habit that could harm your hearing

Whether catching the ‘red eye’ or flying home late, many of us have slipped into our seat, relaxed and drifted off to a peaceful inflight shut-eye.

But, according to British pharmacist Angela Chalmers, sleeping during take-off and touchdown could cause permanent damage to your hearing.

“A quick change in altitude affects the air pressure in the ear,” said Ms Chalmers.

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

When your ears block up during ascent or descent, you’re encouraged to yawn, swallow, drink water, chew gum, pinch or blow your nose to stop your ears from popping. All things you can’t do when you’re asleep.

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

Blocked ears can lead to issues such as dizziness, ear infections, eardrum damage, and at worst, nosebleeds and hearing loss.

Do you sleep during take-off and touchdown?

Related articles:
Hearing loss linked to dementia
Your hearing and driving
When hearing loss is dangerous

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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