1. Sit in the front of the plane where the engine noise isn’t as loud. Anywhere before the wings will do.
2. Swallow and Yawn A LOT! When swallowing or yawning, the Eustachian tube opens and air enters the middle ear. When outside air pressure changes, the Eustachian tube supplies a bubble of air and the ears pop. When this happens, air pressure has been equalized.
3. Chew gum. It will cause you to swallow more often and help equalize the air pressure.
4. Stay awake during decent. Decent is the part of the plane ride where you have a harder time adjusting to the pressure changes. Your Eustachian tube and ears don’t adjust as well when you are sleeping so it’s important to stay awake.
5. Don’t fly if you have a cold or upper respiratory infection as it can make it more difficult for your Eustachian tube to operate. If your Eustachian tube is blocked, ears will not pop and pressure cannot equalize. Eustachian tube blockage can occur for a number of reasons. The most common are head cold, sinus infections and nasal allergies. If this occurs, the air inside the middle ear is absorbed and replacement air cannot flow through the blocked Eustachian tube. This causes a vacuum inside the middle ear; the eardrum is sucked inward and stretched. Such an eardrum cannot vibrate naturally so sounds are muffled or blocked. In extreme cases, usually during rapid descent, the situation can become painful.
6. Take a Nasal decongestant. Even if you are not suffering from a cold, this will help keep those airways and tubes open for better pressure release.
7. Wear earplugs or better yet sound canceling head phones. They might be expensive but they are worth it. As, they will help you get rest on the plane, block out harmful noises and protect your ears from further damage.
If you follow all these tips, you will be on your way and feeling great.
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