Microsuction is the safest and fastest ear cleaning method available. Click here to learn more.

Microsuction is the safest and fastest ear cleaning method available. Learn more.

Why your ears get blocked on holidays

Why your ears get blocked on holidays

Holidays are meant to be the best time to rest and rejuvenate, but they can be met with an unexpected guest - clogged ears. But why do our ears decide to act up during what should be a relaxing time? The culprit behind it isn’t some kind of evil holiday spirit, but rather the activities and conditions that surround this time of year. Let’s explore some common causes:

Travel Trauma: When catching a flight, your ears may feel blocked while you’re in air or after you land. The rapid changes in air pressure during ascent and descent can cause the Eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ear to the back of your nose and throat, to become irritated and inflamed. This inflammation prevents them from equalising the pressure in the middle ear, which leads to that blocked feeling.

Sinus Issues: Colds and allergies are more common during the cold and hot months, which is the most common time to plan a holiday. This is due to the increased congestion to the Eustachian tubes, which makes it harder for them to function and eventually leading to ear blockages.

Swimming Problems: Holidays often involve spending time by the pool or at the beach. Water may be refreshing, but water exposure can actually irritate the delicate ear canal, especially if saltwater or pool chemicals are involved. This irritation can lead to inflammation and a feeling of blockage. Additionally, prolonged exposure to water can lead to ear infections.

Increased Earwax Production: Holidays are often filled with rich food and dietary changes. While it’s not directly linked, some research suggests that there is a connection between these changes and an increase in earwax production.

Stress Overload: Holidays are meant to be relaxing, but they can also be surprisingly stressful. Stress can manifest in many ways, and for some, it may include muscle tension around the jaw and Eustachian tubes, which contributes to your ears feeling blocked.

So, what can you do to prevent holiday ear woes and ensure smooth sailing (or flying) during your next break? Here are some tips:

Manage Travel Pressure: We recommend chewing gum, yawning or swallowing during takeoff and landing to help open the Eustachian tubes and equalise pressure. You can also use saline nasal sprays or decongestants before and during the flight, especially if you’re prone to sinus issues. Another great option is wearing earplugs, which will help with the pressure and also block out noise from crying babies and roaring jets.

Fight the Sniffles: If you’re prone to allergies or colds, be sure to pack your usual medication and take them as directed. Using a humidifier in your hotel room can also help ease congestion.

Dry Your Ears: After swimming, make sure to keep your ears dry. Tilt your head and gently dry the outer ear with a clean towel. You can also use a hair dryer on the lowest setting. Avoid using objects like cotton swabs that may push the wax deeper into your ear.

Watch Your Diet: If you’re really concerned about earwax buildup, try to maintain a balanced diet on your holiday. A treat is okay here and there, but indulging in excessive sugary or greasy foods might contribute to the problem.

Relaxation Techniques: To ensure holidays don’t stress you out, try and schedule some time for relaxation every day. It could be deep breathing or meditation to help manage stress, or reading a book in the sun. Less stress means less muscle tension, which leads to less ear blockages.

If you’ve just come back from a holiday and your ears feel blocked, the easiest solution is to book an ear cleaning appointment with a professional audiologist. Here at earLAB, we specialise in microsuction which is the safest, fastest and most effective earwax removal available. Book online today!