Cate Blanchett is hearing things differently thanks to an ear-popping experience on a recent flight to Los Angeles.

The Australian actress experienced the pressure-related moment for the first time in 19 years and admits she can actually hear everything much better after possibly damaging her hearing in an old role.

The Lord of the Rings star says, "I was in a stage play... I played Miranda in The Tempest and I had to put my head into this rusty bucket night after night and I traced it back and that was the last time I heard anything... I must have got (sic) this terrible ear infection.

"I had my sinuses operated on a couple of years ago because I had this terrible Post Nasal Drip (Syndrome)... For years I've been playing characters onstage who all had sinus infections - sometimes it'd be a tissue, sometimes it'd be a handkerchief and I would hide them literally in flower vases and upstage.

"The Post Nasal Drip stopped after the sinus operation and then my ears popped and I can hear... I've been able to dial everything (volume) down."