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Ear pain when travelling by plane

The summer holidays have begun, and many of us choose to travel abroad by plane. A common problem that we all have when travelling by plane is the ear discomfort, the pressure (the “ringing”) we feel, especially when landing. Most of the time this discomfort is just annoying, but what happens when the discomfort is more severe?

What really happens to our ears when we travel by plane?

It is all about air pressure. Under normal conditions, the air pressure in the inner ear and the external air pressure are at approximately the same level, so there is no problem or discomfort

If, however, a sudden change in altitude occurs, e.g. during take-off and especially during landing, then there is not enough time for the internal pressure of the ear to equalize with the external air pressure. During take-off of the plane, the internal pressure of the ear exceeds the external pressure in a matter of seconds, with the result that the tympanic membrane in the ear swells outwards, like a loaf of bread ‘rising’ during baking. In the opposite case, during landing, the air pressure in the inner ear becomes less than the external pressure, causing the tympanic membrane to shrink inwards. In these cases, the eustachian tube stretches and causes discomfort or even pain, resulting in the eardrum not vibrating and reducing our hearing ability for a few seconds.

Anyone who has travelled by plane has experienced the sudden changes in altitude that cause discomfort and pain in the ears. To reduce discomfort and pain in the ear, we need to equalize the pressure in the inner ear with the external pressure by adding as much air as possible to the Eustachian tube.

What we can do to prevent the pain?

  • Swallowing: when we swallow, our ears click and a small amount of air moves from the back of the nose to the middle ear through the eustachian tube. Older children can use a lollipop or drink liquids using a straw while infants are advised to use a pacifier.
  • “Valsalva” method: close the mouth and keep the nose closed try to blow gently until you hear your ears “open”, but it is not recommended when someone has a cold.
  • Toynbee method: keep your mouth and nose closed and swallow several times until the air pressure is equalized.

Other little secrets that may help:

  • Avoid sleeping during take-off and landing.
  • Drink enough fluids so that you are sufficiently hydrated.
  • Try to yawn (quite) often.
  • Use specially designed earplugs, which have a filter to equalize the pressure.
  • Use nasal spray one hour before take-off, but only as needed. Avoiod overuse.

If your hearing does not return to normal levels a few days later after air travel, you should see an Audiologist for an examination. For more information and advice, and for a FREE hearing test you can contact DR GEORGE Hearing Centres at 77 77 65 00.

Dr. George Panayiotou, Au.D., CCCA, FAAA

Clinical Audiologist

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Maria Demetriou

Customer Service Representative

Maria comes from Aradippou and is a Customer Service Representative Officer out our Centers in Larnaca.

With more than 18 years of experience in the field of hearing aids, Maria is a key member of our team and is responsible for the smooth running of our center and the impeccable service of our customers in Larnaca. Some of her responsibilities include: maintaining and cleaning hearing aids, scheduling appointments, invoicing, processing payments, as well as receiving supplies and hearing aids.

Maria always tries to make people smile and feel comfortable while at the same time providing them with all the necessary information.

What makes Maria special is her kindness, her goodness and her authenticity.

She likes travelling and shopping.

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Elena Petrou

M.Sc.
Office Manager

Elena was born and raised in Nicosia, Cyprus.

She had a fair for languages from a young age.

During her studies, she spent a semester in Andalucía where she fell in love with the Spanish language and culture.

She was introduced to the Cypriot sign language through a friend and subsequently joined a mixed choir of hearing and hard-of-hearing people.

Her day-to-day responsibilities entail greeting clients, scheduling appointments, handling private payments, helping clients with paperwork, ordering and receiving stock supplies, hearing aids and accessories, as well as performing clean and maintenance checks on patient’s hearing aids.

Outside of work, she enjoys exercising, doing arts and crafts and listening to podcasts.

Her favorite quote is “If you are tired of not getting any answers, change your questions!”

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Lucas Antoniadis

MSc
Sales and Marketing Officer

With roots from Limassol, he considers himself a Citizen of the World.

He is involved with various aspects of our centers, mainly with servicing customers at the front desk, monitoring performance, planning and executing marketing and market development activities, as well as developing the e-commerce of the company.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from TEI of Athens and an MBA from CIIM – UoL. He joined our centres in 2017 with more than 10 years of experience in Sales & Marketing as well as Management Factors.

Ιn his free time, he loves spending time with his family and dogs. He also enjoys spending time by the seaside.

He consistently tries to be the best version of himself every day.

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Despina Stavri

M.Sc.
Operations and Advertising Manager

Despina was born and raised in Sotira, Famagusta, and is currently a permanent resident of Larnaca.

He studied in the United States of America where she obtained two master’s degrees in Mathematics & Statistics and Applied Mathematics from the Murray State University and the University of Tennessee respectively.

Despina joined our team in 2011 as an Operations and Advertising Manager. She oversees the smooth operation of our centers, solves any issues that may arise daily, and implements our advertising campaigns. She also caters to the individual needs of our patients.

She enjoys attending seminars on marketing, business management, and self-improvement. She spends her free time with her family. She loves books, good company, and a glass of nice red wine.

Her favourite expressions are the following: “Health is the most valuable of all earthly possessions; without it all the rest are worth nothing” and “Common sense is not so common.”

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Vanya Agathokleous

H.A.D., B.Sc.
Hearing Aid Dispenser

Vanya Agathokleous was born in Limassol and grew up in Pissouri. She holds a degree in Speech Therapy from the European University of Cyprus. She joined our Centers in 2021 after accumulating experience as a Speech Therapist for five years. She is a highly trained Hearing Instrument Specialist who sees customers at our Centers in Limassol and Larnaca.

She is constantly updated on the latest methods for selecting, fitting and adjusting hearing aids as well as hearing rehabilitation by attending seminars and conferences.

One of the main reasons she loves her job is the gratification she gets from helping people welcome back sounds they had not heard in a while. She caters to the individual needs of each customer recommending the most optimal hearing aids not only for better hearing but also for improved quality of life. As she explains, seeing the smile on their face when they realize that they can hear the beautiful sounds of life again fills her with satisfaction and joy.

In her free time, Vania unwinds by going horse riding. On weekends she indulges in shopping therapy.

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Harry Antoniou

H.A.D, B.Sc.
Hearing Aid Dispenser

Charis was born and raised in Ypsonas, Limassol. He studied in Nicosia and currently lives in Arediou, Nicosia, with his wife and young son.

As a hearing aid specialist, he has attended various seminars and conferences in Cyprus as well as overseas.

His job entails selecting, adjusting and fitting hearing aids, as well as providing our customers with audiological support in accordance with the International scientific protocols followed by Dr George Hearing Centers.

According to him, the best part of his job is helping people. His favorite quote is, “It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”

He likes to spend his free time with his family, doing martial arts and other sports as well as reading self-improvement books. Additionally, he loves watching documentaries and listening to podcasts.

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Dr George Panayiotou

Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA
Clinical Audiologist,
Managing Director

Dr George Panayiotou was born and raised in Kiti, Larnaca.

He is a highly accomplished Clinical Audiologist with over 20 years of experience in treating people with hearing loss of all ages. After completing his training and qualifications in the US, he returned to Cyprus to establish DR GEORGE Hearing Centers, one of the largest networks of private audiology clinics. Under his leadership, the three clinics operating under the brand name DR GEORGE Hearing Centers, gained a stellar reputation for providing premium hearing health services with branded hearing aids.

Dr. George holds a doctorate degree in Clinical Audiology from the East Tennessee State University, United States of America.

He holds a professional degree from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

He is also a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the Royal Public Health Association (RSPH) of Great Britain.

Dr. George has been trained and worked at the Presbyterian Ear Institute, Ear Associated Neurological Clinic, Mountain Home Veterinary Hospital, Watauga ENT and Greenville ENT Otolaryngology Clinics in the United States.

Although his free time is quite limited, he loves spending time with his family and beloved son. He is fond of fitness and especially cycling. He also enjoys carpentry and listening to podcasts.

His favorite quote is, “Only the strong survive”

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