Tips for Ear Pressure While Flying

Airplane ear (ear barotrauma) is the stress on your eardrum that occurs when the air pressure in your middle ear and the air pressure in the environment are out of balance. You might get airplane ear when on an airplane that's climbing after takeoff or descending for landing.

Airplane ear is also called ear barotrauma, barotitis media or aerotitis media.

Flying can be a stressful experience to begin with, don't let ear pressure cause more stress for your travels.

Here are some tips to help you manage ear pressure while flying:

  • Chew gum or suck on hard candy to help your ears “pop” and relieve pressure.

  • Drink plenty of fluids before and during the flight to keep your nasal passages moist.

  • Try yawning or swallowing to help your ears adjust to the changes in pressure.

  • Use nasal decongestants or nasal sprays to help relieve pressure and congestion.

  • Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to reduce the noise level in the cabin.

  • Try the Valsalva maneuver, which involves exhaling with your mouth and nose closed to help equalize the pressure in your ears.

  • Use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen if needed.

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