It is a common complaint that people's ears hurt when they fly in an aeroplane. This happens because of changes in air pressure as the aeroplane ascends and descends. High up in the atmosphere the pressure is lower, tugging on the tympanic membrane. Even in pressurised cabins, the pressure is lower than standard atmospheric pressure. Normally the Eustachian tube will equalise the pressure across the drum. It does this by connecting the middle ear to the nasal cavity.
Nasal blockage may occur with a cold, tonsillitis or adenoidal enlargement. The Eustachian tube may remain closed, preventing the equalisation of the pressure. This results in stretching of the membrane and pain.
In extreme circumstances, the shear force across the eardrum may cause perforation. This presents as increasing pain. It becomes more severe which is then relieved suddenly and accompanied by a rush of blood from the canal. In this circumstance the ear must be examined by a medical professional. Wearing earplugs for flying may help prevent this condition.
If it is possible to avoid flying when the tubes are blocked the condition may be avoided. Using a decongestant and an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen may prevent this happening. Always consult your doctor if you think you may have any disorder. This article does not constitute medical advice.
Wearing earplugs for flying is a good idea because it can help you get some good quality rest. You can also avoid jetlag and exhaustion from tiredness on arrival. This is particularly important if you have a business meeting soon after you arrive. ZenPlugs moulded earplugs are ideal for assisting sleep. They are moulded and so are super comfortable and will not wake you up by digging in to your ear canals.
They are also antibacterial and can be connected on the cord to stop you losing them.