Avoid Ear-Popping on Airplanes

If you are looking forward to your next vacation but not the painful change in altitudes, learn how to avoid ear-popping on airplanes. When the air pressure around you suddenly changes, the pressure behind your ear drum should change with it. When this doesn't happen the difference in pressure between the outside of the ear and cavity causes discomfort. Ear popping is not always as tame as it sounds. For some, pain can last for days and hearing severely handicapped after air travel. If you learn how to equalize the pressure in the tube that leads to your ear, you never need to dread high altitudes again. 

  1. Use a pediatric strength nasal spray. Nasal spray helps open up the Eustachian tube. By using a pediatric strength you can fix the problem without over medicating.
  2. Take a decongestant. The Eustachian tube sometimes does not open if it is inflamed or swollen. By taking a decongestant like Sudafed before getting on the plane and every six hours up to 24 hours after disembarking from the plane you can shrink the membranes in the ear.
  3. Swallow often. Diligently chew on gum and sucking candy will help you swallow often. The action gently pops your ears to decrease the pressure difference that causes the ear pain.
  4. Yawn often. Place your index finger one half inch inside your ear canal, pressing firmly towards the back and top of your head. While pressing, yawn as widely as possible. You may look strange but it will release the pressure.
  5. Try the valsalva maneuver . Pinch your nose and blow gently. The action takes practice to perfect but once you have it down you can pop your ears at any time.
  6. Wear ear plugs. You can buy earplugs specifically for air travel to avoid the pain.
  7. Cover your ears. If you don't have ear plugs, hold your ears shut to lesson the pressure difference when the plane is ascending and descending.


Ear Barotrauma



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