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Ringing in ears 30 days after flying
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by joseph23, Feb 15, 2011
Hi, this is my first post on the forum,

On the 17th of January I flew Quito-Houston and then Houston-London. The night I got back (the 18th) I started to hear a ringing in my ears. This was not too noticeable during the day while engaging with activities but at night-time became quite distressing and was very hard-to-ignore presence. A week and a half later I went to the doctor (on the 31st of January) who told me that it was to do with the fluids in the ear adjusting to the low pressure of the airplane when it reaches its apex and failing to readjust upon descent.

I was told that there is no exact time that it takes to readjust but that eventually the ringing will stop when the ears return to their normal state. The ringing seemed to get less intense and less noticeable, even at night, but of a sudden, since last Saturday, it has come back just as loud as it was to begin with.

I am thinking that I should wait another few weeks before returning to the doctor and in the meanwhile I might need to take some sleeping pills. I was completely unable to sleep last night and losing sleep is the main downer of the ringing.

Does anyone know why this ringing might have lasted so long, having been provoked immediately after a long-haul flight? Should I be worried about permanent hearing problems? Thanks.
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Member Comments (7)
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by bsmsl, Feb 15, 2011
I have been dealing with the same problem for over a year, also triggered by flying.  Some things that may help:
1) Decongestants:  You can try Psuedofed druing the day.  It is a stimulant, so I would avoid using it at night.  Afrin also works, but you can only use that for 3 days at a time or you can have rebound congestion.
2)  Try sleeping with a white noise machine, or white noise on your mp3 player on a continuous loop.  If you can focus your thoughts on something besides the ringing, you should be able to fall asleep.  It helps me.

Hopefully your ringing will subside over time, but it is possible that it won't.  Coping techniques will help you deal with the symptoms for now.  If your symptoms don't subside, they will also equip you in the long run.

Feel better.
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by joseph23, Feb 22, 2011
That's not exactly what I wanted to hear!

I've waited until seeing the doctor this morning again to reply, and she advised using white noise too but that psuedofed can also provoke a rebound and that if I didn't feel that I had a cold then it was unlikely that congestion was the problem. If congestion were the problem, she suggested using a hot towl as well to de-clogg up the passages to the ear.

I will look into getting something set up to listen to white noise or music at night time. Do you know if any of the white noise machines that you find on ebay are worth while or would I be best just to have a CD play on loop?

Thanks for your words, and I hope your ringing ebbs away, which it may do, however long it has been going on for.
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by bsmsl, Feb 22, 2011
Sorry.  You should know that I am always the difficult one.  ENT calls me an enigma.  Allergist says I am too complicated for the PA's, writes my name in notes from conferences, thinks of tests to run on me while she is out shopping with her kids, tells me she won't give up on me, comes in to talk to me on sick visits when my apointment is with the PA...  GP is ordering some tests because my blood work is off from the direction the allergist is going and what he does know.  Get the picture?  I don't fit the protocols and give doctors a hard time.

Oh, I only took the pseudofed or the afrin for about 3 days at a time.  Drinking LOTS of water is very helpful as well.

Hopefull yours will resolve quickly.  

I did have one tube put in eventually.  That did help a lot.

The white noise machines on ebay should do well.  I downloaded some mp3 white noise pieces and played them on continuous loop.  The ones I got were free.  I have actually kind of gotten used to it.  It is still there, but I don't notice it quite as much and it doesn't keep me awake anymore.  

Take care and feel better.

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by MegaWurks, Feb 08, 2014
I Rodriguez Finley has experienced this annoying ringing of the ears.  During my flight on Southwest Airlines 2013. I was so much pain , I could feel my ears pop an fill up with fluid ; I grabbed both ears to ease this continuing discomforting pain tears rolled from my eyes.  After my flight  I went to ear specialist . The doctor told me there was nothing he could do to stop this continuing ringing. The doctor advise me there is no cure for this.  But I could get some over the counter items.  But I would still suffer with this for Life.  This is not fair. Someone please help me. ...
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by joseph23, Feb 09, 2014
Hi Rodriguez,

As you can tell from my first post, I was in a bad state when the T began and in a sense it is true that it has not gone away and that there is no cure but it really does stop to be a problem. You are suffering now because your brain interprets the ringing as a threat and this sets off a positive feedback loop that amplifies and intensifies the sounds you hear; over time, your brain habituates to the noise and you stop being aware of it. Like bsmsl said, lots of water is good as is exercise and possibly you could try getting your ears syringed. They say you should also reduce your intake of chocolate, alcohol and coffee but where's the fun in that?
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by Maximus232, May 11, 2014
This is crazy I am in pilot training right now I only fly 1000 feet about ground level during traing but I had a head cold and three weeks ago a ringing just like the one you described is happening to me! I fly every Sunday and now that I read this I might need to stop we're you sick at all when this happened to you. Sleeping is the worst now. It goes on all day but when it gets quiet omg.
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by jessie200, May 14, 2014
I have ringing in my ears 1 month now from flying 14 hours..not sure if this did it or my low thyroid ..it is driving me crazy , cannot sleep properly..going for an MRi end of month..do not like mri..cannot stay in close space , scare me..can someone give me advice..thanks