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Ears Hurt When Flying? Here is the Solution

Updated on June 13, 2012

Do You Feel Pain In Your Ears When Flying?

While flight may be one of mankind's greatest achievements, it remains that many people have to suffer from problems which being at an extremely high altitude entails. One of the most common conditions people on flights have to endure is pain in the ears when flying, which sometimes doesn't go away for hours. While it certainly isn't fatal, it is needless to say that it can turn what should have been a comfortable trip into a very real nightmare. Fortunately though, just like most minor conditions such as this one, there are ways to deal with it and here is a look at a very effective one which won't cost you much and has been proven to work for a large number of people.

What Causes The Pain In Your Ear?

To start things off, it is necessary to take a look at what causes the ear pain when you are flying. The condition itself is called Aerotitis, but most people prefer to simply call it "blocked ear". It occurs when your ears haven't been able to adjust to the rapid change in pressure, resulted in a blocked passage in your ear canal.

In order to get rid of the pain, it is important to equalize the pressure on both sides of the canal, and below you'll learn exactly how to do that.

Tips To Relieve The Pain From Your Ears

To start things off, find a napkin and a wax-coated drinking cup. Get some boiling water (it can usually be found in the galley) and pour a bit of it on the napkin. As soon as the water touches it, try to pour it off the napkin and into the cup; the result will be a hot and steamy napkin. As soon as you have done this, you should drain all the remaining water from the cup (it is very important that not a single drop remains). Once that is done, lower your head either left or right according to which ear is hurting (tilt left for the left ear and the other way for the right one), place the steaming napkin into the plastic cup and use it to cover your ear. This will cause the steam to travel up into the ear and when it reaches the Eustachian tube the canal will star to relax and you will be relieved of the pain.

There are various other methods which people have come to try over the years, but keep in mind that very few, if any of them actually work for everybody. There are certain people who recommend pinching your nose, closing your mouth and blowing gently to force the canal in the ears to pop back into its regular position. Keep in mind not to blow too hard as you will only end up damaging your ears even further. There are others who suggest stuffing your ears with wool and chewing gum, which actually seems to be quite a popular solution to make the ears pop.

All in all, pain in the ears can make your flight very uncomfortable, but the good news is that there are many DIY methods to help you deal with this problem, so make a list and give them all a try on your next flight. If nothing ends up working for you, then you may have to consult a doctor and get more information on your condition.

Demonstration Of How Alleviate The Ear Pain

Share Your Thoughts With Us

Which Method Has Worked For You/Which Do You Prefer?

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    • jamrockcontent profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hey Melissa, the boiling water remedy is for when you get home and the pain still persist. You can try other remedies on the plane such as chewing a gum or even using ear plugs. Hope that helps.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 

      6 years ago from New York

      Wow, wish I could try this remedy, but I wonder if they will provide boiling water during the plane's landing? I wouldn't know, I haven't been on a plane in years and probably won't be for a long time. But cool information to have.


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