Many people find flying painful. In addition to the anxiety that some experience, others find that the change in air pressure as the airplane descends causes agony to one or both ears.
This reader reports success with a somewhat extreme measure: tympanostomy tubes for an adult’s ears. Although this solution won’t be appropriate for all flyers with ear problems, it is good to know that it is a potential option.
Q. I cannot tell you how much pain I suffered on airplanes. My ears felt like someone was putting knives in them. I screamed during flights. My ear bled. The pain was worse than giving birth to my children.
Medication Didn’t Help
Decongestants didn’t work for me. I refused to travel, as I couldn’t bear it.
I now have grommets in my ears. These tympanostomy tubes have changed my life.
Others with real problems flying who are not helped by Sudafed or yawning should talk to an ENT specialist. This operation might help them as it helped me.
A. Many people find that long-acting nasal spray decongestants help reduce ear pain due to flying.
Other Tactics That Might Help
Chewing gum, blowing the nose on descent or using Ear Ease ear cups can equalize the pressure on both sides of the eardrum.
People like you who don’t get relief from these tactics may indeed want to discuss their situation with an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT). They should ask about possible risks as well as benefits, so they are going into the decision with both eyes and ears open.