Q. I read a recent column about excruciating ear pain while flying. I had this problem for years, until someone told me about EarPlanes. These are small, soft silicone filters that are inserted an hour before landing.

You can’t imagine the relief I felt on a flight from Copenhagen to Seattle. The plane descends very rapidly from 30,000 feet and it used to feel like torture. With EarPlanes, it was fine. They work better for me than the Ear Ease cups you described, and you don’t have to bother the attendant for hot water.

A. EarPlanes are silicone earplugs that contain a special pressure-regulating filter. They are supposed to moderate the rapid increase in pressure as the plane descends. After two uses, the earplugs should be replaced.

Ear Ease cups work differently to unblock clogged Eustachian tubes with heat. Both strategies are designed to equalize the pressure in the ear to reduce pain. These products are available online, at airports or drugstores.

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  1. Jill
    Madison, WI

    The earplanes saved the day for me, no more plugged up ears after a flight! I previously had some very unpleasant flight experiences, plugged up ears, ear pain, including some damage to my right ear when I flew with a cold once. I still follow my ENT doctor’s instructions for flying: take a decongestant before boarding, before takeoff use a nasal spray, two good sniffs in each nostril. (Then I put the earplanes in.) Next, I chew gum during ascension of plane. Process is repeated with nasal spray before descending and chewing gum during descending. The decongestant only needs to be taken again per the recommended time on package. Adding the earplanes to this routine has taken the pain and worry out of flying.

  2. Helen E.

    My daughter just purchased me some Ear Planes. I will use in a few weeks and when I do use them, I will e-mail back my results.

  3. Helen E.

    I just purchased some and I will try in a few weeks when I fly to Texas.
    Thanks for your help.

  4. PP

    There are child’s size Earplanes, although I’m not sure if they will fit baby ears.

  5. DS

    I’d like to hear any further comments.

  6. BAC

    When babies and young children cry at take-off and landing it’s not because they are spoiled brats. It’s because they are in excruciating ear pain. Poor things.

  7. paulbyr

    In about 1973, I had to fly for business trips. The pain was terrible and none of the typical advice worked (chew gum, swallow, hold nose and blow).
    For some reason I took Drisdan decongestant tablets before my next trip and I had no trouble at all. Of course, I had to try not taking Drisdan and suffered again as we landed to change planes. I then took my Drisdan with no more trouble.
    Since Drisdan is no longer available, I take Pseudophed. 2 pills before each takeoff to be safe. No more pain. I don’t fly often so the law that makes it hard to buy too much pseudophed isn’t a bother for me.
    Hope this helps someone in pain like I was.

  8. vic

    Sounds like a sales pitch to me! Anyone got personal experience of this product?

  9. Leslie

    Used EarPlanes after a bout with vertigo that made me very nervous about a cross-country flight. They weren’t super-comfortable, but they worked really well. I didn’t have any of the usual pressure and ear-popping that I normally associate with flying.

  10. pc

    On one flight I had horrible ear and head pain so that I thought my brain was exploding. The stewardess put small paper cups with paper towels heated with hot water rolled up in them over both my ears. Immediate relief!

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