Why You Should Rethink Sleeping On Planes

Why You Should Rethink Sleeping On Planes

The sudden bumps, the constant threat of having the plane hijacked, and the fear of the plane going down, are just a few of many reasons that people are afraid to fly.

To mask the fear of flying, many of us try to sleep through the entire flight. At first, this may seem like a good idea, but after further research, this may not seem like a good idea.

Research that was published by the Harvard Medical School has indicated that falling asleep on an airplane can cause you to lose something very valuable. Read on to find out what that is!

The study indicates that falling asleep on an airplane can cause you to lose your hearing. It’s the sudden change in attitude combined with your lack of consciousness that can compromise your ability to equalize the change in pressure in your eardrum.

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Most people have experienced that feeling in their ears where they’re about to pop. This occurs because the pressure outside of your ears does not match the pressure inside of them. Usually, this feeling occurs when the plan is descending or ascending.

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You can equalize this pressure by opening the Eustachian tube (a thin canal in your ear) by either yawning or swallowing – one of the reasons flight attendants hand out chewy sweets before the plane lands.

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But if you are sleeping and the pressure remains inimitable, the Eustachian tube can remain blocked and you could suffer from ear barotrauma.

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Most people suffer ear barotrauma at some point in their lives, but if the condition is severe and the tube remains blocked for a long period of time, you could develop an infection.

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This infection can cause fluids to build up behind the eardrum causing pain and hearing difficulties.

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The best way to avoid this from happening is to make sure you’re up and awake when the captain announces that the plane is going to land shortly. Whether it’s having an alarm sound at a certain time, or having the person beside you wake you up when it’s time.

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Staying with the topic of damaging your hearing, take a look at other ways this can occur. You might be surprised by a few of them.

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Cotton Buds: The ear is sensitive and the eardrum is very delicate. The old saying goes “don’t put anything that is smaller than your elbow in your ear” this is a good rule to go by. Using Q-tips and cotton balls or any other small object to clean your ears can be damaging. They scratch the ear and increase the risk of damaging the ear drum.

Cotton Buds Shaynepplstockphoto/shutterstock.com

Medication: Medicine is supposed to help us not hurt is right? Well did you know that certain medications can cause hearing loss? These medications are called ototoxic medicines. If you lose your hearing from these medications, it can happen quite suddenly. Usually the first symptoms you will experience before this is vertigo and tinnitus.

Medication Adul10/shutterstock.com

Smoking: Certain substances in cigarettes such as nicotine are ototoxic and can cause tinnitus. Statistics over the past few years have shown that 70% of people who smoke are more likely to experience some form of hearing loss compared to non-smokers.

Smoking Lightspring/shutterstock.com

Ear Wax: This is probably the most common cause of hearing loss. The best way to treat ear wax buildup is to use ear drops. It may help loosen and soften the ear wax which may help it work its way through. If this is unsuccessful, go see your doctor and they perform a treatment called ear irrigation.

Ear Wax kzww/shutterstock.com

Headphones: According to the World Health Organization, headphones are the number one cause of hearing loss. The number one rule when listening to music is to always keep it at a volume where you can still hear what’s going on around you. If you are listening to music with the volume at 60%, you should only listen to it for 60 minutes a day. If you are listening to it at full blast, only listen for 5 minutes.

Headphones Rawpixel.com/shutterstock.com

The Movies: A report from the Ear, Nose and Throat journal indicated that the three highest maximum sound levels were recorded during the viewing of Transformers, License to Wed and The Simpsons Movie.

The Movies Stock-Asso/shutterstock.com

Overlooking Signs of Hearing Loss: With life moving so fast and not having enough time in the day, it’s easy to ignore warning signs. People often wait years before they realize that they’ve had significant hearing loss. Depending on how long you took and the severity of damage done to your ears, restoring your full hearing may not be possible. It’s imperative to test your hearing when you notice symptoms.

Overlooking Signs of Hearing Loss DoraZett/shutterstock.com

Riding the Subway: The different squeaking and clanging of the subway train can damage the inside of your ear. Subway workers protect their ears with ear plugs, but many pedestrians who are riding the train do not always have that luxury. This is a prime example of how loud noises for short periods of time can leave their mark.

Riding the Subway ClariMassimiliano/shutterstock.com

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