Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
If you experience severe pain or symptoms associated with airplane ear that don't go away with self-care techniques, you'll likely see your family doctor or a general practitioner first. You may, however, be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT, or otolaryngologist). It's useful to prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to your ear problems.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of airplane ear, you might want to ask the following questions:
- Are these signs and symptoms likely related to my recent airplane travel?
- What is the best treatment?
- Am I likely to have any long-term complications?
- How will we monitor for possible complications?
- How can I prevent this from happening again?
- Should I consider canceling travel plans?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask your doctor any other questions you have.What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will ask you a number of questions, including:
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Do you have any allergies?
- Have you had a cold, sinus infection or ear infection recently?
- Have you had airplane ear before?
- Were your past experiences with airplane ear prolonged or severe?
What you can do in the meantime
To treat pain, you may take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or naproxen (Aleve, others), or an analgesic pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
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- Ears and altitude. American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/earsAltitude.cfm. Accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
- Travel safety tips. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/travelsafetytips.cfm. Accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
- Bentz BG, et al. Barotrauma. American Hearing Research Foundation. http://www.american-hearing.org/disorders/barotrauma/. Accessed Aug. 19, 2010.