How to avoid ear pain during a flight

If you’re a frequent flyer, you might have experienced discomfort, popping, or in some cases, even severe pain in your ears, during the flight. And regardless of how much you pay for your tickets and what class you travel in, this is one thing that you’ve likely experienced more often than not.

While ear popping and discomfort during air travel is pretty common for most travelers, it might get really serious for some people, even to the point that it causes permanent ear damage and hearing loss. So, it is important to take suitable precautions and prepare yourself before, during and after the flight.

Why does ear pain occur during flights

It all has to do with the difference in air pressure. The air pressure around us changes with altitude. When you’re moving along the same altitude, which is mostly the case under normal circumstances, the air pressure inside the inner ear matches that of the outside, so there is no cause for discomfort here. Even when you’re ascending or descending slowly (like when you’re climbing a hill), there is enough time for the air pressure inside the inner ear to equalize with that of the outer ear.

How to avoid ear pain during a flight

But, if the outside air pressure changes rapidly (like when you’re in a flight right after take-off or just before landing), the inner ear doesn’t get enough time to equalize that pressure on the inside.

During take-off, the surrounding air pressure falls more rapidly than that on the inner side of your ear. And this causes the eardrum to swell outwards. Alternatively, during the landing sequence, the air pressure outside increases rapidly due to the decrease in altitude, and the pressure inside the inner ear is lower. Consequently, the eardrum is sucked inward.

Even though the internal cabin pressure is adjusted to minimize this effect, there is still a significant difference in pressure, which is why the issue persists. In either case (take-off or landing), the stretching of the eardrum causes pain. During this time, the eardrum is not able to vibrate (as it is already stretched), causing decreased hearing and muffled sounds too.

The effects of change in air pressure vary among different individuals and in different situations. For example, if you’re traveling with a blocked nose, there may be a lack of air flowing through the passage between your nose and your inner ear; thus reducing the air pressure in that particular region.

In this situation, even the normal cabin pressure may be significantly higher than the pressure within your inner ear, causing the eardrum to be stretched inwards, leading to discomfort, and in extreme cases, severe pain.

To minimize the ear pain and discomfort caused by air travel, one needs to take certain precautions before, during and after the journey. In order to equalize the cabin pressure with that of the inner ear, one needs to let in enough air through the eustachian tube.

EarPlanes – Air Pressure Regulating Ear Plugs

EarPlanes are a patented pressure-regulating earplugs which help reduce discomfort usually associated with air travel. Developed by Cirrus Healthcare Products LLC in association with the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles, the product has been tested and approved by US Navy pilots.

How to avoid ear pain during a flight

This product consists of two elements — a hypoallergenic silicone ear plug, and a ceramic pressure regulator. The silicone earplug has four circumferential rings to provide an airtight seal between the EarPlanes and the ear canal. The ceramic element is a controlled porosity filter with one end exposed towards the external cabin pressure, while the other end faces the sealed chamber that is created by the silicone part of the product.

The ceramic element acts as a filter that controls the air flow in and out of the ear canal, by exerting an equal and opposite impedance on the exterior of the middle ear, allowing relief.

Additionally, EarPlanes also function as noise suppressing ear plugs. It seems to automatically filter out the undesirable high frequency noise generated by aircraft engines. At the same time, on-board announcements made through the aircraft’s PA system may still be heard.

It is to be noted that the EarPlanes are recommended to be disposed after two or three round trips. This is because, the porous ceramic filter may eventually trap air particles and impurities, which, in turn, reduce the effectiveness of the product.

Given that the product costs around $10 – $25 (depending on your location) for a single pair, and the fact that it is disposable after a few rounds of use, it is important to account for your budget (among other factors) when you consider investing in such a product.

Factors like your current health, the cost of your travel and duration of your flight should influence your purchase decision. If you’re healthy and have paid less than $30 for your flight ticket, or if the duration of your flight is less than an hour, it doesn’t make much sense to invest in EarPlanes. On the other hand, if you’re suffering from cold and compelled to travel, having a pair of EarPlanes is a huge plus. Also, it is a good idea to open your EarPlanes packaging on the flight just before take-off, to prevent early contamination of the ceramic filter.

Note: EarPlanes are one of the most popular pressure regulating ear plugs available, though they aren’t the only ones in the market. You might also find other similar products, which are cost effective and work quite well in reducing ear pain.

Other tips to minimize ear discomfort

All that being said, EarPlanes isn’t the only way to manage ear discomfort or pain during air travel. There are several preparations or procedures you can try in order to minimize ear discomfort.

  1. Take a decongestant about 24 hours before flying to keep the air passages and ears clear.
  2. Swallow, chew gum, yawn or drink fluids. It stimulates the muscles surrounding the eustachian tube, and keeps it open for normal functioning.
  3. Try the Valsalva maneuver. This helps to unblock your ears when pressure starts building up. With a mouthful of air, close your mouth and pinch your nose shut, and gently force the air out until your ears pop. Note that this maneuver isn’t recommended if you’re suffering from cold or allergies, as it may lead to severe ear infection. In that case, try the Toynbee maneuver instead; close your mouth and nose, and swallow several times until the pressure equalizes.
  4. Use a nasal spray one hour prior to landing, and only as needed. Overuse of nasal sprays may cause more congestion.
  5. Avoid sleeping during ascent or descent.
  6. Try not to fly when you’re suffering from cold, nasal congestion, sinus, or any other form of upper respiratory infection. You’re more likely to experience ear problems in such cases.
  7. If you have an allergy, take your allergy medication as a precaution one hour before your flight.

Refer to this page for more suggested ear clearing tips.

We hope this article was helpful and informative. If you’re a healthcare professional and have additional tips for air travel, you can share them in the comments below.

Travel Tips

How to avoid ear pain during a flight

The change in air pressure during airplane travel can cause pain in the ears. (Photo: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images )

Related Articles

  • How to Unclog Ears After a Flight
  • How Can I Relieve Sinus Pressure When Flying?
  • How to Stop an Ear From Hurting in an Airplane
  • How to Get Your Ears Unplugged After Airline Travel

When flying, it’s possible to experience ear barotrauma, the discomfort or even pain that results from a dramatic difference in air pressure between the inner ear and the exterior. The changes in altitude and resulting changes in air pressure within the airplane cabin can prove particularly bothersome to some individuals. A tendency toward allergies, colds or respiratory infections can increase your chances of experiencing this discomfort. Blockage of the eustachian tubes, in the inner ear, or a swollen throat may also increase the chances of barotrauma. Luckily, several techniques can help relieve the problem.

Ear-Clearing Exercises

You can do several simple exercises or maneuvers to clear your Eustachian tubes, thereby balancing the air pressure between your inner and outer ear. To do the Valslava Maneuver, pinch your nostrils shut, close your mouth and attempt to blow air out your nose; the resulting pressure will instead clear your ears. Doing the technique too frequently, however, can slightly lower blood pressure, making it less apt for situations like scuba diving, but acceptable for flying. A gentle alternative is the Frenzel Maneuver. Make a guttural “kuh” or “guh” sound while pinching your nostrils closed. Done properly, the back of your tongue and your Adam’s apple rapidly lifts. Repeat this maneuver multiple times, as needed. The Toynbee Maneuver is named after Joseph Toynbee, the 19th century otologist who identified the crackling sound that occurs during swallowing. This third maneuver consists of pinching the nostrils shut and simply swallowing. Finally, yawning is an easy technique with the same results, simple enough for children to do.

Fluids

During the flight, drink plenty of fluids. It will encourage you to swallow more frequently and thicken nasal mucus, both good for keeping Eustachian tubes clear. Avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks, as they will only dehydrate you. A warm beverage is even better, as it soothes the throat and sinuses. Instead of coffee or tea, bring a bouillon cube or a packet of dried soup in your carry-on and request hot water from the flight attendant.

Medicines and Lozenges

Take any pain killers a half-hour before take-off or landing. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen are both options; avoid any pain killers that contain caffeine, which may dehydrate you. An over-the-counter nasal decongestant may also help to unclog the ear and nasal passages. Instead of chewing gum, the classic cure, opt instead for a throat lozenge or suck on a piece of hard candy. Chewing gum will dry out your throat, whereas lozenges can soothe it.

Additional Tricks

If nothing else works, ask your flight attendant for a polystyrene foam cup, a paper napkin and a second cup with a little hot water. Crumple the napkin into a ball and soak it in the hot water. Put the wet, balled napkin in the other cup and hold it over one ear. The steam from the wet paper will relieve the pressure in your ear and soothe the pain. Massaging a bit of petroleum jelly in each nostril will also help your nasal membranes stay moist and clear.

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine — MedlinePlus: Ear Barotrauma
  • KidsHealth: Flying and Your Childs’ Ears
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Some Cold Prescriptions When You’re Flying; David Bear; Jan. 2007

Danielle Hill has been writing, editing and translating since 2005. She has contributed to “Globe Pequot” Barcelona travel guide, “Gulfshore Business Magazine,” “Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico” and “The Barcelona Review.” She has trained in neuro-linguistic programming and holds a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature and literary translation from Brown University.

How to avoid ear pain during a flight

Airplane ear: how to avoid ear pain during flight

Taking a flight is usually an exciting time as most people flying are going on holiday!

However, for some people the flight can cause some discomfort in the ears, sometimes referred to as ‘airplane ear’.

This discomfort can include the ears feeling blocked with sound muffled and even pain.

Let’s take a look at what exactly airplane ear is and how it can be prevented.

What causes airplane ear?

Airplane ear is caused by the pressure change in the cabin as a plane is taking off or landing.

You might have had a similar sensation when driving up or down a steep hill at speed – your ears suddenly feel blocked or like something popped!

It’s exactly the same on an airplane, you can feel pressure in your ears and a blocked feeling with sound becoming more muffled. With airplane ear, the blocked feeling might also be accompanied by pain which is sometimes intense.

Any pain and discomfort caused by airplane ear usually ends spontaneously or when the plane lands.

Occasionally, for some people, the discomfort doesn’t end when the flight ends, but continues for days or even weeks.

If your symptoms don’t get better then you should seek advice from your GP.

How to avoid ear pain during a flightCanva

How can I prevent airplane ear?

Luckily there are lots of easy ways to prevent airplane ear or alleviate the symptoms. There’s no guarantee you can totally prevent airplane ear from happening to you, but these methods have been helpful to many.

· Professionally remove ear wax before flying

An accumulation of wax in the ears can intensify the pressure felt in the ears when flying, but there is a solution.

A procedure called microsuction by the professionals at Auris Ear Care is a safe way to remove the ear wax and reduce the likelihood of airplane ear.

There’s no down time and it’s perfectly safe to fly after microsuction.

If you’re prone to a build-up of ear wax then a consultation with an ear care specialist can assess whether microsuction could be suitable for you before flying.

· Stay awake

Make sure you stay awake and alert during take-off and landing. This will ensure you notice any changes in the pressure in your ears so you can follow some of the methods below.

Yawning is a really simple, but effective, way to reduce the blocked ear feeling. This method is my favourite way to reduce my blocked ears when flying or even in the car! My ears regularly pop and feel blocked when we drive up and down hills!

· Swallow

Like yawning, swallowing is another easy method to help prevent discomfort in the ears from pressure changes. Sipping on a drink during take-off and landing is an easy way to keep swallowing.

It’s also a great way to prevent discomfort in children’s ears. Make sure they have snacks and drinks for take-off and landing to encourage them to swallow.

You can also chew gum or suck on a hard boiled sweet to make you frequently swallow.

· Ear plugs

Wearing ear plugs will help to regulate the pressure in the ears. There are special flying ear plugs which are created to equalise the pressure.

· Try the ‘Toynbee Manoeuvre’

Close your mouth and pinch the nostrils of your nose closed. Then swallow several times until the pressure equalises. If it’s tricky to do, then try with a sip of water to help you swallow.

· Don’t travel with these illnesses

If it’s possible to reschedule your travel plans then be aware that these illnesses can intensify airplane ear:

  • common cold
  • sinusitis
  • nasal congestion
  • recent ear surgery
  • ear infection

· Use a decongestant

Finally, it’s possible to stop airplane ear by taking an oral decongestant 30 minutes before you fly or regularly using a nasal decongestant before and during flight.

Airplane ear is never fun, but hopefully these tips will help to relieve any pain or discomfort you feel when it strikes.

Please take a moment to share 🙂

  • Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
  • Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)

Like this:

Related

This page has affiliate links & ads. I may receive a commission if you buy something via a link on my website. This is a personal blog for entertainment & is not professional advice. Thanks for your support. I hope you enjoy my blog 🙂

How to avoid ear pain during a flight

Upcoming adventures!

  • Airbnb, Landrake, Cornwall
  • Airbnb, Lake District, Cumbria
  • Bongo camping, Lynmouth, Devon
  • Bongo Camping, Padstow, Cornwall
  • Airbnb, Mevagissey, Cornwall
  • Festival: Vegan Campout
  • Bongo road trip to Portugal

Keep an eye on my family travel diary for photos and blog posts!

How to avoid ear pain during a flight How to avoid ear pain during a flight

Welcome to Travel Vixta, a family travel blog sharing our travelling adventures, travel tips with kids, UK days out and events, Bongo campervan stories, kid-free trips, travel bucket lists and, well, anything travel related!

I’m Victoria, married to Ben and our children are Bella and Reuben.

Now our children are both school age, I am itching to travel more. We purchased a Mazda Bongo Friendee poptop campervan in June 2018 with the aim of exploring more of the UK on a budget.

Ben loves camping and I’m trying to love it! Ben’s quite happy staying in a tent, but I’d rather an actual bed, so let’s just say the van was a compromise!

Ben counts a stay in the UK as a holiday, I think a ‘holiday’ involves getting on a plane to go somewhere with guaranteed sunshine, golden sands and turquoise seas!

I also absolutely love mountains and lakes. I prefer to disappear somewhere with less people and to explore on foot. Though I won’t say no to a boat trip.

Pre-kids I travelled a little and Ben mostly with work. Read more about our history of travelling before I started this blog in November 2018 by clicking here.

Since starting my travel blog, I now share all our days out and travel adventures in this travel diary.

You can also discover me blogging at two more blogs! Find all things healthy living at Healthy Vix. At Lylia Rose, my money and lifestyle blog, you can discover ways to make money online and lots of money saving tips!

For a comfortable air trip, follow this four-step plan

Rapid changes in air pressure cause the air pocket inside the middle ear to expand during takeoff and contract during descent, stretching the eardrum. To equalize pressure, air must enter or escape through the eustachian tube–the needle-thin opening that connects the middle ear and nose. “When the tube can’t adjust, the pain can be excruciating,” says Dr. Derebery.

Infection, congestion, allergies, irritation from pollution, and physiological problems such as scarring from childhood ear infections can block the eustachian tube. Stricter noise regulations at airports, which require planes to make sharper, more rapid descents, have also made the problem more common.The first rule: Avoid flying if you have a respiratory infection or allergies that cause congestion. But if you can’t, take these steps:

The Day Before Your Flight Take a decongestant, such as Sudafed, every 6 hours and continue for 24 hours after you land to shrink membranes in the sinus and ear. Follow the precautions on the label.

Right Before You Board Use a pediatric-strength nasal spray once as directed. This helps open the eustachian tube, without giving you more medication than you need.

During the Flight Chew gum, yawn, or swallow to help keep the tube open. Or try earplugs specially designed to minimize ear pain while flying.

Before You Land About 45 minutes prior to arrival, Dr. Derebery recommends using the pediatric nasal spray every 5 minutes for 15 minutes. Sit upright to make it easier for pressure to equalize.

Now you can soar up and away, pain-free!

How to avoid ear pain during a flight

Airplane rides are generally pleasant experiences, the calm demeanour of the air hostesses and the fragrant air-conditioned interiors are enough to send one into a peaceful state of mind. But then there are some issues that do crop up with the mounting height. While some people throw up due to a height phobia, there are others who end up having major ear pressure difference leading to intolerable pain. This happens due to the unequal pressures that develop on either side of the eardrum as the plane ascends or descends.

The pain may get worse when the plane is about to land or take-off. The pain usually goes away soon after landing or when the plane has levelled-off. To relieve this, doctors suggest that the pressure inside the middle ear has to reduce quickly during such an ascent and has to rise quickly during the aircraft’s descent.

We asked Dr Ashim Desai, ENT Specialist, Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Mumbai, what is the real reason behind such pain and tips to deal with it. Dr Desai said, “Air needs to travel up the Eustachian tube into the middle ear to equalise the pressure. It is the ascent and descent of a flight that makes fliers experience pain shooting through the ears for a few agonising minutes. The Eustachian tube, a thin opening between the middle ear and the nose is the culprit behind this uncomfortable sensation. The Eustachian tube must re-adjust itself to accommodate the change in air pressure and this process is more troublesome for some people than others, especially those suffering from allergies and a sinus problem. In order to help the tubes open up or close more smoothly, there are certain tried and tested techniques that one could follow to ease the pain.”

Here are 5 tips you could follow to manage ear pain during take-offs and landings:

When asked if the same tips could be used by frequent fliers, Dr Ashim added, “Ear pain due to fluctuations in air pressure is very common in a healthy body therefore it is only natural that in a body battling a cold, nasal, sinus or ear infection, it becomes twice as hard for the ears to cope. In such situations, one must make sure that they plan in advance for the flight if not avoid flying altogether until the body recovers. An ear infection might be worsened in the flight and in some severe cases may even lead to ruptured eardrums and consequent hearing loss. It is advisable that frequent fliers suffering from frequent pressure changes in the ears be evaluated for allergies and disorders.”

Pop your ears using these tips, and learn how to keep them from clogging in the first place.

It’s been two hours since you left the airport and your ears still feel clogged.

Other than being mildly uncomfortable, ear blockage can put a damper on your travels as you struggle to listen to your tour guides, follow along in business meetings, or chat with friends at the hotel bar.

Rather than wait for that inconvenient, stuffy feeling to go away on its own, you can speed up the process by utilizing safe and natural methods designed to clear your Eustachian tubes and drain the fluids in your ears. These techniques can also come in handy if a cold or sinus infection has your ears blocked hours before a flight, and you want to prevent the potentially painful experience of flying with clogged ears.

So if it’s been a few hours since you got off the plane and you can’t quite hear your travel companion’s thoughts on the local cuisine, try one of the 5 methods below to pop your ears and get back to enjoying your trip.

1. The Valsalva Maneuver

Close your mouth, pinch your nostrils together, and blow softly. This method will equalize the pressure in your Eustachian tubes, but be careful not to blow too hard so you don’t damage your eardrums.

2. The Toynbee Maneuver

The Toynbee Maneuver works like the Valsalva Maneuver in that it helps to equalize the pressure in your ears. Using this method, pinch your nose and take a few sips of water to help you swallow.

3. Olive Oil or Hydrogen Peroxide

This technique serves to open up your Eustachian tubes by softening and removing your earwax. Add lukewarm olive oil or hydrogen peroxide to an ear dropper and lie down with the affected ear facing up. Place three to five drops of liquid in your blocked ear and remain in that position for five to ten minutes. Next, switch sides with the affected ear facing down and wait for your ear to drain earwax and excess oil or hydrogen peroxide (make sure to have a towel pressed against your ear while you do this). When you are done, use a cotton ball or tissue to soak up any liquid at the entrance to your ear canal. You can use this technique three times a day for up to seven days.

4. Warm Compress

Take a wash cloth, run it under warm water, and wring out the water. Apply the cloth to your ear for five to ten minutes, and the fluids in your ear will start to drain.

5. Steaming

Boil a pot of water and transfer it to a large bowl. Create a tent with a towel by covering both yourself and the bowl with it. Inhale the steam to help thin the mucus and earwax in your ear. If you want, you can add a couple of drops of tea tree or lavender oil to the water to further reduce pain and inflammation. Breathe in until you feel your ear canals start to open up.

Alternatively, you can also hop in the shower for 10 minutes. If your ear is clogged on your flight and you need quick pain relief, ask your flight attendant for a tea bag and two cups, one empty and one filled with hot water. Steep the tea bag in the cup of hot water, and then transfer the tea to the empty cup, keeping the tea bag and a little bit of water in the first cup. Hold that first cup up to your ear; the tea bag will lock in the heat from the water, and the steam from the tea bag will help relieve your ear pain.

How to prevent clogged ears next time

The best way to get rid of an ear blockage is to prevent it from happening in the first place. To that end, here are a few tricks to keeping your Eustachian tubes clear on your next flight.

How to avoid ear pain during a flight

5 Simple Ways To Avoid Ear Pain During Flight

Diving, taking an airplane and going up a tall building in an elevator are some of the common ways that will get your ear feeling slight pain. It is caused by the difference between the air pressure on the outside and the inside of the ear. It will be a torture if it’s a 7 hour flight in a stuffed airplane. The question is: how to avoid ear pain during flight? Therefore, we have compiled a list of remedies that will help you on the spot. The idea works by opening the Eustachian tubes and allow the air to flow into the middle ears and equalize the pressure. Note that the methods here works for air flight induced pressure. Methods may be different for other causes.

1. Chewing Gum

The action of chewing and swallowing stimulates the muscle around the Eustachian tube. This allows the air to move in and out of the tube, allowing the pressure to get equalized. Alternately, you can suck on a candy for the same effect. Just be sure to swallow often.

2. Yawning

Yawning opens up the Eustachian tube. This allows air to flow into or out of the middle ear. This technique may come in handy in case you don’t have candy or sweets in hand. But, sometimes we have just enough sleep and can’t seem to even fake a yawn. Read on for more ideas!

3. Valsalva Maneuver

This technique is founded by Antonio Maria Valsalva, a physician that studies the human ear. Variations of this technique can be used for medical examinations and even strength training. Anyways, we’re focusing on clearing our ear this time.

  1. Close mouth tightly.
  2. Pinch the nose.
  3. Try to breathe forcefully through the nose.

4. Hot Towels In Cups

While the methods before this requires oneself to do it, this method allows you to help other people to unblock their ears. Be careful with this method as it involves dealing with hot towels.

  1. Get two plastic cups. One for each ear.
  2. Dampen two towels with hot water. Make sure the towel is small enough to fit in the cup.
  3. Place the towels into each cups.
  4. Hold the cups over the ears for a few minutes.

It is less likely we will be using this method unless it’s for emergency. It’s good to know anyway.

5. Toynbee Maneuver

This is yet another easy way to relieve pressure. If you don’t have water, swallowing saliva will do as well.

  1. Take a sip of water.
  2. Pinch your nose.
  3. Swallow.

You should hear a pop sound and feel better after that.

Medical and General Disclaimer
Homely Smart contains information about medical conditions, treatments and provides information and ideas for home remedies. However, the information provided is strictly for informational purposes only. Our site does not claim to be written or researched by professional medical bodies. Any information in this website does NOT substitute medical advice from health care professionals. If you are experiencing any health problems, please consult a doctor before trying any treatments provided in this website. Homely Smart will not be held responsible for any harm, injury, illness or death that may result from the use of the content in this website.

I suffer from chronic sinusitis, and have had blocked ears three times in my 16 years of flying as a flight attendant. The times I got blocked ears I actually didn’t know I had an upper sinus infection, otherwise I would likely have been able to prevent blocked ears with these tips that have saved me on other occasions. I am not a doctor: the advice I give here is from my own experience. As always, you should consult your physician before taking any new medications. These tips are for adults. To view my tips for children flying with congestion, read here.

A friend, of mine recently emailed me asking: “Any advice on flying with a sinus infection? I’m having some ear discomfort also.” (Side note: She had already been to the doctor and was cleared to fly, but was concerned about ear pain or blockage in flight.)

Here was my response (edited):

“Go now and buy Mucinex Extra Strength (1200mg—in the blue box). Take that tonight and in the morning (every 12 hours). Also buy Nasocort and take as directed. Buy EarPlanes, which are ear plugs that you put in about an hour before landing, when your ears are still clear. They will help prevent pressure build up as you descend. Drink lots of water. If you normally take allergy medicine, be sure to continue that as well. Other people recommend things like Sudafed or Afrin, but I don’t recommend these because of the side effects. In my experience, the Mucinex and Nasocort are just as effective without the adverse side effects. Drink lots of water.

“Those four things should get you through one flight at least without blocked ears. When you do have ear pressure building up, clear your ears as early and as often as possible. It’s harder to do when congested. Sometimes in order to clear my ears I open my mouth wide and look up to the ceiling, trying to yawn. Once I can relax enough to yawn, my ears will clear.”

My friend followed my advice and after the flight emailed me the result:

“I did okay yesterday. As we started to descend I had a lot of ear pressure, but I was able to pop my ears and I was fine. I cannot imagine the pain I would have had if I hadn’t taken the Mucinex and Nasocort. Thank you so much for your help!”

These items I recommend are available at all drug stores, but for your convenience I have also provided links within this post where you can purchase them on Amazon if you desire. These are affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through them I may receive a small commission which will go toward running this blog. I appreciate any support you are able to give me!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. My suggestions are only what works for me. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medications.

1) Take Mucinex

(*Right now Amazon has a coupon for 30% off ” target=”_blank”>Mucinex. I just clipped the coupon and added the 42 count to my Subscribe and Save order. Final cost was only $12.70, or $0.30 per tablet! Prices on Amazon change often. Check your cart for final cost before purchase.)

I am very sensitive to medications. Before Mucinex (Guaifenison) was over-the-counter, my endocrinologist told me to not take Sudafed, as it makes my heart race. I argued that I had to take Sudafed, as I was getting sinus infections regularly but had to continue flying. He prescribed Guaifenison. It is an expectorant, so I argued again that I don’t get chest congestion, which it is meant to treat. The doctor told me, trust me, it works. I started taking it when I was congested, and the doctor was right! I really does work wonders for both chest and nasal congestion! I recommend sticking with the Mucinex Maximum Strength, and not the Mucinex DM unless you actually NEED the cough suppressant in the Mucinex DM. When the Guaifenison starts working, it usually also helps to reduce coughing. It’s always wise to avoid medications that are unnecessary.

2) Use Nasocort

3) Use EarPlanes

Ear Plugs – Airplane Travel Ear Protection And Pain Reliever (3-Pair – Adult) ” target=”_blank”>EarPlanes are special ear plugs that are designed to help keep your ears clear by regulating the air pressure. They have saved me on several occasions from getting blocked ears. It’s important that you clear your ears before putting them in. Put them in according to the directions about an hour before landing, before the plane starts to descend. You can use them for takeoff too, but I have very rarely seen anyone have trouble with their ears on takeoff.

4) Take Antihistamine (if you need it for allergies)

If you have allergies for which you usually take an antihistamine, be sure to continue taking that. You don’t want added sinus pressure from the sniffles that seasonal allergies bring.

5) Stay Hydrated

This is the most commonly overlooked “treatment” for sinus congestion. Staying hydrated helps loosen congestion and prevents dehydration (source: MayoClinic.org). Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can make dehydration worse.

6) Use Saline Spray

Do you have any remedies to add that work for you in preventing blocked ears? We’d love to hear your suggestions! Comment below or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts.