Q. I suffer terribly from ear pain when flying. I take the decongestant pseudoephedrine, chew gum and blow my nose but none of these strategies is working any more to relieve the pressure. Do you have any recommendations?
A. Over the holidays millions will fly to visit family and friends all over the country. Many will fly to get to their destinations. For some unfortunate passengers ear pain can be excruciating on descent. We recently received this recommendation from someone with experience:
“I have been a flight attendant for over 17 years and I have seen and heard it all when it comes to ear pain on descent. I’ve had passengers screaming and crying. One passenger’s eardrum exploded, shooting blood on the white shirt of the passenger next to him.
“This is a serious problem, and the medications people take for it don’t always work. I was lucky to have been given an Ear Ease years ago as a baby shower gift. After my son was born and I went back to work, I took the Ear Ease with me every time I flew. I’ve helped so many people, both kids and adults, in terrible pain.
“We used to use foam cups with hot paper towels in them, but our company told us not to use them anymore. There was a worry that someone could be burned if the towel dripped. Many people ask me where to get the Ear Ease device. I tell them check the Internet. It is a lifesaver if you are flying with head or ear congestion.”
Ear Ease resembles a headphone ear cup. Hot tap water in the base heats the air around the ear and helps equalize the pressure in the Eustachian tube that runs between the inside of the ear and the throat. That can often alleviate the pain.