Your doctor will likely be able to make a diagnosis based on questions he or she asks and an examination of your ear with a lighted instrument (otoscope). Signs of airplane ear might include a slight outward or inward bulging of your eardrum. If your condition is more severe, your doctor may see a tear in the eardrum or a pooling of blood or other fluids behind your eardrum.
If you're experiencing a spinning sensation (vertigo), there may be damage to structures of your inner ear. Your doctor may suggest a hearing test (audiometry) to determine how well you detect sounds and whether the source of hearing problems is in the inner ear.
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- Vernick DM. Ear barotrauma. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 16, 2013.
- Ears and altitude. American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/earsAltitude.cfm. Accessed May 16, 2013.
- Flint PW, et al. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: MosbyElsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05283-2..X0001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05283-2&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed May 16, 2013.