Updated: Oct 17
You might be concerned that the noise on a flight will exacerbate your tinnitus if you have it. In reality, most passengers report that their tinnitus is barely audible due to the plane's ambient noise.
On rare occasions, you can notice that when travelling, your tinnitus is increasing louder. But you can take steps to minimise this, and it won't persist forever.
Airplane Engine Noise
The noise of the engine rarely bothers those who have tinnitus. However, if you are concerned that it might exacerbate your tinnitus, choose a seat up front where the engines are less audible. Avoid using earplugs unless the ambient noise is intolerable because doing so can make your tinnitus more noticeable.
Keep your hearing aids in during the flight if you typically wear them to avoid straining to hear. Tinnitus can become louder if you strain.
The Plane’s Descent
Your ears can hurt and your tinnitus might sound stronger as the plane descends. This happens when the pressure inside your ear exceeds the pressure inside the cabin. Yawn, swallow, and move your jaw by sucking on gum or a sweet to help with this. This will allow the air pressure in your ear to equalise with the outside air pressure by opening the Eustachian tube in the middle of your ear. Once this has occurred, you will feel a "pop" in your ears.
If your Eustachian tube is obstructed, the air pressure cannot equalise. Use a nasal decongestant to assist clear your airways and tubes if you have a cold or sinusitis.
Stress with Flying
If you find flying stressful, consider calming techniques. During the flight, you can watch a movie, read a magazine, or listen to music. These will divert your attention from the source of your anxiety. Additionally, practising breathing and relaxation techniques prior to your travel can be quite beneficial. Speak with your doctor if you are aware that you have a phobia of flying; they may recommend a low dose of a tranquillizer. Some airlines, including Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, provide classes to assist customers in overcoming their anxieties.
Flying after Ear Surgery
Please speak with your surgeon and practitioner as they will advise you on when you can fly.
For more information on Tinnitus and Flying, please see Tinnitus.org.uk.
For information on our Tinnitus Maskers, please call Hear Pure Chester, Hear Pure Cheadle or Hear Pure Heswall on 01244 311142 for a free tinnitus consultation.