The ineffectiveness of applying moisture to the ear on the incidence and severity of otic barotrauma for air passengers

R. P. Morse*, A. Mitchell-Innes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective The application of moisture to the ear is anecdotally claimed to relieve the pain from otic barotrauma that can arise during aircraft descent. This claim was tested in a randomised double-blind study on an aircraft with eight participants heavily predisposed to barotrauma.Methods On the outward flight, half the participants wore 'active' devices that applied moisture to the external ear; the remainder wore placebo devices that contained no moisture, but were otherwise identical. On the return flight, the groups were reversed. Participants wore the devices from just before descent until landing, unless they experienced symptoms of barotrauma, in which case they switched to what they knew was an active device.Results There were no significant differences between conditions regarding the appearance of the tympanic membrane on landing or the discomfort levels immediately before and after any switch.Conclusion Applying moisture is ineffective for passengers heavily predisposed to otic barotrauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-795
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Laryngology and Otology
Volume132
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2018

Keywords

  • Aerospace Medicine
  • Air Travel
  • Barotrauma
  • Otic Barotrauma
  • Prevention

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The ineffectiveness of applying moisture to the ear on the incidence and severity of otic barotrauma for air passengers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this