Airplanes And Ear Pain – What To Do And Why It Happens?

Ranjeet KumarReviewed by Mr. Ranjeet Kumar Sr. Audiologist, Speech Therapist & Cochlear Implant Specialist, BASLP on May 8th, 2020 written by Editorial Team

Airplanes Ear Pain journey is one of the most thrilling and a laugh trip one can have, regardless of how a great deal you remunerate for your seat whether or not you pick to travel first category or 3rd class, the most common hassle each and every air traveler face is ear pain. For some human beings, it is quite uncomfortable while for others, it causes extreme pain.

You can purchase the latest hearing aids at a fair price through HearingSol, If you need any assistance or you have a query regarding Ear Pain or Hearing Loss, feel free to call us at +91-9327901950. We are always here to help you.

Usually, that ear pain is simply a demanding however creates a state of affairs of agitation and inconvenience.

Sometimes, the ear pain and pressure get extreme and in the end, lead to hearing loss. Therefore, it’s better to take precautions before, at some stage in and after the flight.

Let’s discuss all these aspects in detail.

What Is Airplanes Ear Pain?

While flying or during its descent and ascent, most of the people experience ear pain. You often experience airplane ear as your plane descends to land.

This ear pain can sometimes get severe and the situation may turn out to be worse on landing. In some of the cases, the ear pain goes away on its own after landing. An airplane ear is also called Ear Barotrauma.


You can experience an airplane ear in one or both of your ears. Some of the signs and symptoms are listed below –

  • Feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ear,
  • Pain or discomfort in your ear,
  • Slight or Muffed hearing loss,

In case your airplane ear becomes severe and lasts for greater than a few hours, then, in this case, you may look for some of the symptoms:

  • Moderate to severe hearing impairment,
  • Tinnitus( ringing or buzzing sound in your ear),
  • Ear pressure or same pressure develops when you underwater,
  • Your ear may start bleeding,
  • Vertigo ( spinning sensation),
  • Vomiting as a result of Vertigo.

What Occurs In Our Ears When An Aircraft Climbs?

Air Pressure due to Airplanes Ear Pain
Airplanes Ear Pain

As the aircraft climbs, the air pressure inside the cabin starts decreasing till it reaches a point at which the pressure remains constant for the rest of the flight (at cruising altitude).

As the air pressure will be less compared to the pressure at the ground level, which imply that some part of the trapped air should be allowed to escape from the inner ear.

In case, it doesn’t happen then the increased ear pressure will cause bulging of the eardrum. If everything went normal, the overpressure air inside the internal ear escapes by using the Eustachian tube.

It becomes easy for this eustachian tube to start exhausting air than to suck it inside, this is the main reason why every one of us has difficulty flying when an airplane starts climbing.

What Happens In Our Ears When An Aircraft Descends?

As the aircraft descends the air pressure inside the cabin will gradually increase to the rising air pressure will push the eardrums inwards.

Air plane descent

To counter this, the air pressure on the other side of the eardrums, in the inner ear, has to additionally increase. To enable this to appear air needs to be sucked in via the Eustachian tube.

Do read – What are the Symptoms of Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?

Risk Factors

Any situation that blocks the Eustachian tube or limits its function can increase the risk of ear barotrauma or airplane ear.

Some of the risk factors are as follows-

  • A small eustachian tube, particularly in kids and toddlers
  • Sinus
  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • The common cold
  • Middle ear infection (otitis media)

Effects Of Flying On The Human Body

  • You’re greater likely to catch a cold
  • Your pores and skin might react badly
  • You might not be able to taste much
  • High dangers of blood clotting
  • You might feel anxious
  • You may feel sleepy

How To Prevent Ear Pain In Flight

As we know “Prevention is Better Than Cure”, there are certain tips that one ought to observe at some point in air travel.

1. Swallowing

When you swallow, that clicking or popping sound you can also hear is a tiny bubble of air that has moved from the returned of the nose into the center ear, with the aid of the Eustachian tube.

The Eustachian tube ensures that the air in the middle ear is constantly being replenished. That air is then absorbed into the membranes of the inner ear, and the cycle begins over again.

This constant cycle of air ensures that the ear pressure on both sides stays equal. When you fly, the trick is to make sure that the Eustachian tubes work time beyond regulation and open more regularly to accommodate the trade-in air pressure.

2. Chewing Gum Or Sucking On Challenging Candy

Chewing gum or sucking on the tough sweet will stimulate commonplace swallowing which helps equalize air pressure.

For infants, whose Eustachian tubes are much narrower than an adult’s. Older teenagers can suck on a lollipop, drink through a straw or blow bubbles through a straw to relieve ear pain.

3. Valsalva Maneuver

Pinch your nose shut, inhale a mouth full of air, and close your mouth. Blow gently as if making an attempt to blow your nostril till you hear a pop.

The popping sound suggests that your ears are unblocked. You may additionally have to repeat this step numerous times till your ears are definitely unclogged.

Valsalva Maneuver
Valsalva Maneuver

4. Yawning

Yawn as regularly as you can. Yawning prompts the muscle groups that open the Eustachian tube to allow the strain to stability out in the ears.

5. Use Oral Decongestant

Take a decongestant or use a nasal spray one hour before the flight departs. Decongestants and nasal sprays open your nasal passages, which in return can cause your Eustachian tube to stay open at some stage in your flight.

6. Drink Water

Drink a lot of water to remain properly hydrated and avoid inflammation of the nasal passages and throat, which ensures better characteristics of the Eustachian tubes.

Other Relief For Airplane Ear Pain

1. Medication

Having a bloodless or hypersensitive reaction will frequently lead to an airplane earache due to the fact the Eustachian tubes will already be partially closed due to these issues.

Taking decongestants or antihistamines before boarding can help open up the tubes and ease your discomfort. Although these medicines are reachable over-the-counter, consult a medical doctor earlier than taking them.

Some medicinal drugs would possibly have aspect results such as drowsiness or dizziness that ought to be just as unpleasant. A slight pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen additionally might help relieve your pain.

2. Food & Drinks

In some cases, having something to chew on for the duration of take-off and touchdown is adequate to forestall ear pain. Adults and kids older than 3 can bite on the gum or suck on sweet in the course of these times.

Drinking water or juice through a straw can additionally help, due to the fact the sucking motion required via consuming this way will help open the tubes in your ears.

Giving a baby a bottle to suck on may additionally provide her with identical benefits.

3. Earplugs

If you are concerned about the consequences of taking a medicinal drug and no homemade methods work for you, buy a set of earplugs.

Slipping in some pressure-regulating earplugs all through take-off and landing may assist ease your pain. These are an exceptional kind of plug made in particular for plane travel.

Look for them at a pharmacy or at one of the retail outlets inside the airport. Many types of these plugs are accessible in adult and baby sizes.

You can purchase the latest hearing aids at a fair price through HearingSol, If you need any assistance or you have a query regarding Ear Pain or Hearing Loss, feel free to call us at +91-9327901950. We are always here to help you.

Expert Suggestions

  • Avoid drowsing in the course of ascent or descent.
  • Drink lots of fluids in-flight to stay hydrated.
  • Yawn during ascent or descent.
  • Take a decongestant 1 hour before landing and also post-flight till ears normalize.

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