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What about Decongestants and Nose Sprays?
Many experienced air travelers use a decongestant pill or nasal spray an hour or so before descent. That will shrink the membranes and make ears pop more easily. Travelers with allergy problems should take their medication at the beginning of the flight for the same reason.
Decongestant tablets and sprays can be purchased without a prescription. However they should be avoided by persons with heart disease, high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, thyroid disease or excessive nervousness. Such persons should consult their physicians before using these medicines. Pregnant women should likewise consult their physicians first.
What to do if your ears will not unblock?
Even after landing you can continue the pressure equalizing techniques, and you may find the decongestants and nose sprays to be helpful. (However, avoid making a habit of nose sprays. After a few days they may cause more congestion than they relieve.) If your ears fail to open, or if pain persists, you will need to seek the help of a physician who has experience in the care of ear disorders. He may need to release the pressure or fluid with a small incision in the ear drum.
How well does my child hear?
Most newborn infants startle or “Jump” to sudden loud noises. By three months, a baby usually recognizes a parent’s voice. By six months, an infant should turn his or her eyes or head toward a sound. By twelve months, a child should imitate some sounds and produce a few words, such as “Mama” or “Bye–bye”.
When is hearing evaluation indicated?
Hearing evaluation may be indicated if a young child has limited, poor, or no speech; seems frequently inattentive, has difficulty learning; or has any signs of hearing loss, such as increasing the television volume. In conjunction with any behavioral symptoms, hearing assessment also may be necessary if there are certain risk factors for hearing loss, such as childhood hearing loss in family members, severe complications at birth, frequent ear infections, or infections such as meningitis or cytomegalo virus.
What kinds of hearing loss are there?
Conductive hearing loss is caused by an interference in the transmission of sound to the inner ear. Infants and young children frequently develop conductive hearing loss due to ear infections. This loss is usually mild, temporary, and treatable with medicine or surgery. Sensori–neural hearing loss involves malformation, dysfunction, or damage to the inner ear (cochlea). It usually exists at birth. It may be hereditary or may be caused by a number of medical problems, but often the cause is unknown. This type of hearing loss is usually permanent. The degree of sensori–neural hearing loss can be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. Sometimes the loss is progressive (hearing gradually becomes poorer) and sometimes unilateral (one ear only). Sensori–neural hearing loss is generally not medically or surgically treatable, but children with this type of hearing loss can often be helped with hearing aids. A mixed hearing loss occurs when both conductive and sensori–neural hearing loss are present at the same time. A central hearing loss involves the hearing areas of the brain, which may show as difficulty “processing” speech and other auditory information.
What about the Cochlear Implant?
A cochlear implant does not restore hearing. It is intended for children with profound hearing loss who do not benefit from hearing aids.