PASSENGERS who suffer from ringing ears may be making mistakes as they prepare to fly, according to an expert.
Katie Ogden, a registered hearing aid dispenser at ReSound has explained how and why air travel can impact tinnitus sufferers.
Those who live with tinnitus can hear a noise that no one else can, despite nothing making the sound.
Currently there are 7.1 million sufferers in the UK, for whom flights can cause significant pain and discomfort.
During air travel, a "popping" reaction can be felt in most passengers' ears, which is a result of pressure releasing from the middle of the ear.
But for tinnitus sufferers, the ringing noise they suffer from can get even louder at this moment, leading to discomfort and even pain.
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Ogden explains that in these circumstances it is important not to panic, as tinnitus and stress are often linked.
She said: "For those that experience tinnitus and link this to stress or anxiety, then it is logical that either building up to, or during a flight their tinnitus appears louder.
"Look into the option of breathing and relaxation exercises, both in the build-up to flying and during a flight.
"This will help to keep you calm and bring down the stress levels, keeping the tinnitus nice and low. In more severe cases, have a chat with the GP about other available options."
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For anyone worrying about an upcoming flight and the effect it could have on their tinnitus, Ogden advises sitting in specific seats on the plane, using ear plugs and listening to music to ease symptoms.
There are also one or two tried and tested methods for relieving the effects of pressure on a passenger's ear.
She said: "For those that find the engine noise distressing, the seats in front of the wing tend to be quietest, and the use of soft ear plugs can also help.
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"Personally, I find listening to music most relaxing and distracting, as well as anything that helps to distract from the engine noise.
"But do keep an eye on volume levels – keep all headphone volume levels at a safe and reasonable level.
"For those that find the pressure change an issue, sucking on a boiled sweet of some kind or chewing gum can help."
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