Rollercoaster riders have recently been warned about the potential side-effects of enjoying the attraction. According to researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, exposing ears to the full impact of a rollercoaster’s acceleration can lead to barotrauma.
The condition is caused by sudden changes in air pressure and can leave the patient with ear pain, dizziness and even hearing loss. It has previously been linked to air travel, scuba-diving and bomb blasts, the Mirror reported.
Thrill-seekers were alerted to the potential dangers after the Henry Ford Hospital team treated a 24-year-old man, who still reported pain is his ear 36 hours after having ridden a rollercoaster. He had turned to his girlfriend in the seat next to him during the ride, allowing his ear to experience the full impact of the 120mph speed, according to The Telegraph.
“As rollercoasters continue to push the envelope of speed, (doctors) need to be aware of this new cause of barotrauma to the ear,“ said Dr Kathleen Yaremchuk, an ear expert at the medical institution.
“Based on our research, we recommend that passengers remain facing forward for the duration of the ride to not let the full impact of acceleration hit the ear,” she added.
The specialist also said that, although the young man’s situation was unusual “rollercoaster riders should be aware of what they can do to prevent barotrauma from occurring”.
Image: Wikimedia Commons and Paul Bridgewater