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Does chewing gum help with airplane ear?

Does chewing gum help with airplane ear?

Yes, chewing gum can help with airplane ear. Airplane ear, also known as barotrauma or ear barotrauma, occurs when there is a difference in pressure between the middle ear and the environment. This can happen during takeoff or landing, when the pressure in the cabin changes rapidly. Chewing gum can help alleviate the symptoms of airplane ear because it helps equalize the pressure in the ears.

When you chew gum, it prompts you to swallow frequently. Swallowing activates the muscles in the Eustachian tube, a narrow passage that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. By swallowing, you open up the Eustachian tube, allowing air to flow in and out of the middle ear. This equalizes the pressure and helps prevent that uncomfortable, sometimes painful feeling that comes with airplane ear.

It’s important to choose sugar-free gum, as chewing gum with sugar can promote cavity formation. Look for gum that contains xylitol, a sugar substitute that has been shown to have dental health benefits. Chewing gum is a simple and effective way to prevent or relieve airplane ear, and it’s easy to bring a pack or two with you on your next flight.

FAQs about chewing gum and airplane ear

1. Does chewing gum only work during takeoff and landing?
Chewing gum can be beneficial throughout the flight, but it is especially helpful during takeoff and landing when there is a significant change in pressure. However, you can continue chewing gum during the entire flight if it provides relief.

2. Can children chew gum to prevent airplane ear?
Yes, children can chew gum to help equalize the pressure and prevent airplane ear. However, it’s important to supervise young children to ensure they do not swallow the gum.

3. Are there any alternatives to chewing gum?
If you prefer not to chew gum, you can try swallowing, yawning, or gently blowing your nose while pinching it closed. These actions also activate the Eustachian tube and can help equalize pressure.

4. How long should I chew gum for maximum benefit?
Chewing gum for about 30 minutes before takeoff and landing can help reduce the chances of experiencing airplane ear. However, you can continue chewing gum for as long as it remains comfortable.

5. Does chewing gum work for everyone?
While chewing gum can be effective for many people, it may not work for everyone. Some individuals may find other methods, such as swallowing or yawning, more effective.

6. Can I use chewing gum if I have a cold or sinus congestion?
If you have a cold or sinus congestion, it may be more challenging to equalize the pressure in your ears. Chewing gum may still provide some relief, but it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before using any methods for airplane ear in such cases.

7. Are there any side effects of chewing gum for airplane ear?
Chewing gum is generally safe, but some individuals may experience jaw fatigue or discomfort with prolonged chewing. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop chewing gum and try other methods to alleviate airplane ear.

8. Can I use any type of gum for airplane ear?
It’s best to choose sugar-free gum, as gum with sugar can lead to dental issues. Additionally, gum with xylitol can provide dental health benefits. Look for gum specifically labeled for preventing or relieving airplane ear.

9. Can I use gum in combination with other methods?
Yes, you can combine gum chewing with other methods, such as swallowing or yawning, to further help equalize pressure during flights.

10. Are there any precautions I should take when using chewing gum for airplane ear?
If you have any pre-existing ear conditions, it’s advisable to consult with an ENT specialist before using gum or any other method for relieving airplane ear. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific condition.

11. Can chewing gum prevent ear infections during flights?
Chewing gum is primarily used to equalize pressure during flights and may not specifically prevent ear infections. However, by equalizing the pressure, it can potentially help reduce the risk of developing an ear infection.

12. Can I use chewing gum if I have braces or dental work?
If you have braces or dental work, it’s best to consult with your dentist before using chewing gum for airplane ear. They can provide guidance based on your specific situation to ensure it won’t cause any issues with your dental work.

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