Flying with Hyperacusis
Hi all. I’m about to take my first flight since my acoustic trauma 8 months ago that left me with some hearing loss complicated by hyperacusis. You were all very helpful in my first few weeks with the disorder. With time, it has gotten somewhat better. Some noises that had been painful are now tolerable, although the kitchen is still a minefield. I’m worried that an airplane is likewise filled with potential hazards for someone with hyperacusis. I’m particularly worried about the ear pressure changes. Should I take a decongestant in advance of the flight? Are decongestants ok to take with hyperacusis if one doesn’t have heart problems or glaucoma? Can I wear ear plugs given air pressure changes? Do airlines restrict ear protective devices because of some rule about being able to hear flight instructions? I greatly appreciate any experience or advice that you can offer. Thanks so much!!
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…..sorry I cannot help but one thing did catch my attention (i have some hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis and musical ear, pain in eustachian tubes and no e.n,t.) wen you wrote about taking decongestants with glaucoma!! sorry to go off subject but I have narrow angle glaucoma , diagnosed 2018 but probably had before…. had Irdidotomy laser in each eye 2020… now doctors, , medical people keep telling me it is ok to take decongestants, and many other medications that have warning on about glaucoma…they say its all ok as have had iridotomy but if they read about it, iridotomies may not last forever, can close over etc: I am taking Clonazepam which really should not be as also raises eye pressure but been on 15 years and addicted in a way… I think you are wise to check about hyperacusis and flying… BEFORE you go and maybe get more than one opinion!!! Flying in the past I never had these problems and do not remember ever reading or being told cannot wear ear plugs…but be interested to read comments on here. I am sure "deaf" people may fly but yes how would they know if emergency etc…. so many things to consider! J.
You're wise to ask these questions. I always take a decongestant before I fly as I've experienced considerable pressure on a flight. I've often taken decongestants when needed so have not considered it being different than usual. This seems like an 'ask your physician' thing, especially if you have hyperacusis. Best to play it safe.
There should be no problem using ear plugs. As a person with hearing loss, I always inform the airline staff that I may not understand announcements due to my hearing loss. They have always been kind about coming to me to repeat messages or ask if I have questions. I also request an aisle seat when I fly. That makes it possible for the flight attendant to talk to me without leaning over another passenger. It's always best to be upfront about any unique needs you may have.
I have tinnitus, hearing loss and hyperacusis. Noise on a plane is louder for people with hyperacusis. I have used earplugs on flights with no problem, however I have always been able to avoid much pressure as I can swallow hard and it immediately relieves the ear pressure. I know others may not be so fortunate. This is what I do when flying. Use ear plugs made for me at an audiologist when the plane is climbing to reach its requisite height, then once the engines reduce noise at appropriate height I remove the ear plugs and put on my Bose noise cancellation headphones and listen to soft music or nature sounds that I have pre recorded on a computer key or a Walkman or my phone. This works very well for me and I have no problems with relieving pressure or noise. The noise cancellation headphones can also be worn with earplugs. I also try to get a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible and on the aisle.
Julie and willows:
Thank you so much for your thoughts. I’m scheduled to talk to my doc on Tuesday about all this. I’ve struggled to find an ENT truly sensitive to my hyperacusis issues. My current one is better than my first who was very dismissive. I’ll likely use ear plugs on the flight, even though noise cancelling headphones are more attractive. But I’m really hesitant to listen to music or sounds through headphones because many times in my life I’ve made mistakes with the volume and momentarily blasted my ears. Since my acoustic trauma, I haven’t used ear buds or headphones for that very reason. Regarding decongestants, I agree it’s a good idea to get my doc’s input. My concern with taking a med is that once it’s in you, there’s no adjustment or change of plan, especially with a single-dose strategy. Thanks again to you both! Joe