No, this isn’t a parody of ‘Snakes on a plane’ and anyway, my version would be better.


Of course I’m exaggerating about the title of this article but I tell you what, that’s what I felt it was happening on this plane.

After spending a wonderful few days in the Algarve with my parents, it was time to go home. Sad times. I was sobbing snottily that I had to leave my Caipirinhas behind. After we were taken by charter bus to the airport (yes, I got on the tourist bandwagon!), we waited for our flight from Faro to Leeds/Bradford. It’ll just be a simple 3 hour flight. I’ve been on many planes more times than I can remember in the last 2 years and I’m a bit of a pro at whittling away the hours – usually perving on the fit stewardess. Or staring evilly at the person’s bald spot in front of me as he lounged his seat way back into my lap.

But since I’ve had my Cochlear Implant operation, I’ve always noticed that when I’m on a plane taking off, I can feel a little but of a pressure behind my ear. It’s not the ears’ popping but rather a little bit of pressure. It’s not painful, just uncomfortable. It’s all over in five minutes really until the plane equalises itself.

So I was expecting this pressure again on this plane journey, no problem. Finally on board and fully loaded, we took off. Only I began to notice that rather than being uncomfortable, I actually found it to be slightly painful on the right hand side of my head. 10 minutes later, the pain hasn’t subsided and I began to feel sick and light-headed. I almost felt like I was about to float off somewhere in a daze. Looking around to check for empty glasses of Caipirinhas that perhaps made me feel this way, I was (disappointed) alarmed.  The pain started increasing and I began to get a little worried. Would my implant explode out? That’s when there will be an Ear Exploding on a plane!


I didn’t know what was wrong. I’ve done this experience so many times, why now? The only time I felt like this when we were flying off in a light aircraft before Skydiving over Taupo in New Zealand. As the light airplane was open to the elements I had to account for the change in pressure…BINGO! I just realised as I thought about that experience.

The pressure in this airplane hadn’t equalised for the journey. Telling my Mum, who was worried, about this, we started to alert the flight attendant when an announcement came from the pilot.

We would need to turn back to Faro did to problems with the cabin pressure.

I was amazed. I actually figured out what was an issue on the airplane and no one even realised there was one!

I was akin to a canary going down the mines, only that rather than dropping dead from inhaling flammable fumes to warn others, a bloody hole from the side of my head where my implant has exploded out will do the trick for airplane pilots.


Flickr photo by Michael Sonnabend

Luckily, we hadn’t strayed too far from Faro at this point so we landed quickly and my pain stopped. The bad news, we would have to wait for 4 hours for the next plane. Drat.

Boarding the next plane, I tested out my theory again. No pain, no pressure gain. And this time? No pain.

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