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Are your ears or the ears of a family member overly sensitive to pressure changes while flying?  Our article suggest a few remedies that you might find useful.



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Travel Advice - Ear discomfort and flying

During air travel, rapid pressure changes in the cabin are common. Normally, the ear responds to pressure changes by equalizing the pressure on each side of the eardrum.

  • During sudden, significant pressure changes, as may be experienced during air travel, the ear’s balancing mechanism (the Eustachian Tube) may be unable to keep up with the rate of pressure change, resulting in earache or general discomfort in your ears and sinuses.
  • Significant changes in air pressure usually occur during takeoff, landing, or while the aircraft is passing through zones of turbulence.


  • One way to remedy ear discomfort during takeoff and landings is to swallow or yawn repeatedly, as these actions may help equalize pressure in the ear.
  • Another technique that works for many is chewing gum. The act of chewing facilitates swallowing and jaw movement, which may help equalize pressure on the eardrum.


  • “EarPlanes” (a patented, pressure regulating, earplug) seem to provide relief for many travelers.
    •  We have tried EarPlanes and have found them effective for us. EarPlanes cost approximately five dollars a pair and are recommended for two uses before discarding.
    • Be sure to read the manufacturer's directions for use and any cautions they may describe related to using this product.

If you have a cold, it may not be safe for you to fly and you should consult your doctor before doing so. Flying, when you are heavily congested, may result in severe damage to or rupture of the eardrum.

  • If your congestion is minor, taking a decongestant before the flight may make you more comfortable while flying. Time the dose so that it will remain in effect during the entire period that you are airborne.
  • As with any medication, discuss taking the decongestant with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Read the brochure accompanying any medicine to ensure that its ingredients do not conflict with other medications you are taking.
  • Avoid talking a decongestant or cold remedy that has caffeine, as taking caffeine may contribute to jet lag.

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