What causes Ear pain during air flights and how to cure it

After a couple of air journeys , I came to detest air travelling or any form of flying, because during  each flight , just as the plane takes off and ascends into air, my ears starts ringing, it becomes worse as the plane descends, am in such terrible pain.  I usually have to hold my screams inside for fear of  disturbing other passengers. In fact after a recent trip,where I could not help but fly due to time constraint and location, the stinging sensation continued in my ears, unlike previous trips where the pain abates shortly after the flight, this one was worse, mainly because the plane spent more time descending due to turbulence and awaiting clearance. I wanted to cry but tears refused to come. I could not scream, shout or bolt from my seat because those options were not available. I just held my ears, popped a sweet in my mouth to produce saliva,  drank water and  swallowed several times. 
An airplane descending
An airplane descending

I remembered Goldie and how she died after an air trip , autopsy revealed that a blood clot caused by a cramp in her leg traveled to her brain, I prayed such did not happen to me , I could feel blood rushing into my ears and they were threatening to pop out. Days after,my ears are still blocked, nose and throat feels dry and irritated, I feel nauseous too and any noise close to my ears sets me on edge . 
However, I initially thought it was Karma catching up with me from my earliest years when I use Biro stubs, match sticks and whatnots to pick and clean my ear, but I discovered it was not as I clean my ear once or twice a month since I have stumbled on information that ear wax can also act as a from of protection , so it must not be completely removed. 
Trust me, I could not bear to go on like this,I have to be better prepared for next time. So as usual I went on Google, did a survey among my blackberry contacts requesting for help or answers especially for those who have had similar experiences and what cure or prevention they took. Some of my friends claim the pain is more intense while flying local routes especially Lagos to Abuja, I concur but I don't know why as I thought on international flights, the altitude change is more. 

Here are some of the answers I came up with.

Primary Cause:

 Difference in air pressure in the ears as the aircraft changes altitude. It can occur  underwater too. 


Secondary cause:

Stress, Fatigue, ear infection,cold, allergic reaction, flu, illness, foreign object in ear, dehydration, incessant cleaning of ear.


Symptoms:

Ear ache or pain, ringing ears, nausea, vomiting, discomfort, loss of hearing ,Tinnitus (Ringing in the ears), throat irritation or dryness,  nose itching and in extreme cases bleeding. 

Preventive  measures |

Wearing filtered ear pads, putting cotton wool in the ear, chewing gum, licking sweets, drinking lots of water, yawning or opening of mouth, taking immune boosters, nasal decongestants, watch movies or music to take away your concentration from the pain, always stay awake, never sleep during aircraft descent, blow balloons or just make blowing motions with your mouth, Breath in deeply while keeping mouth closed , cheeks puffed up and exhale loudly through your mouth. . If the airplane ear is beyond unbearable limits, then avoid flying as much as you can (How I wish this i  possible for me) . These measures are mainly to  the relieve the ear pain till the ears adjust completely to the variation in air pressure. 

And to think birds don't have this problem, God is indeed wonderful!!!

Any other suggestions? Feel free to share.  


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