At vacation time, we often hear from people who find flying challenging because of severe ear pain during flights. This can turn a European trip or even a visit to relatives across the country into agony.
Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid ear pain during flights, especially during descent. This reader has had good experience with a rather complex regimen.
Q. I have read questions about painful ears during flights. This was a severe problem for me.
An ENT Doctor’s Recommendation for Ear Pain During Flights
I now follow this regimen an ENT doctor gave me and it works. Ten days before flying I start using Nasacort nasal spray twice a day. I take Benadryl an hour before the flight and use Afrin spray 30 minutes before taking off (2 sprays per nostril).
I also use EarPlanes ear plugs and chew gum during the flight. I use Afrin spray (2 squirts in each nostril) when the pilot announces that we will be landing (or 20 minutes before landing).
This is a lot of stuff, but it has kept me traveling. Without it, I’d have to stay home.
A. Wow! That is an impressive treatment program. Others may benefit.
Some folks may not be familiar with EarPlanes ear plugs, which are designed expressly for this purpose. They are silicone earplugs with a special pressure-regulating filter to moderate the rapid increase in pressure as the plane descends. They can be purchased in airport stores and online.
“I 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.”