London- A new research published by Harvard Medical School revealed that snoozing on planes really could mean losing hearing. If you are asleep on a plane during a sudden change in altitude, your ability to equalize the pressure in your eardrum might be compromised and could cause permanent damage.
For most people, a sudden altitude change makes our ears feel like they’re going to pop. This occurs when the pressures on the outside of your ear don’t match those on the inside. Often, this happens to most people when a plane is landing and drastically drops in altitude.
Typically, these pressures can be equalized by opening a thin canal in your ear called the Eustachian tube by either yawning or swallowing, and this is why some airlines sometimes hand out chewy sweets before landing.
However, in severe cases when the tube remains blocked for a prolonged period of time, an infection can develop which causes fluid to build up behind the eardrum, leading to pain and hearing difficulties.
Given its direct association with changes in altitude, it’s also a condition that commonly affects scuba divers and people driving in the mountains.