Health Tip: Controlling Altitude-Related Ear Pain

Ear pain while flying is most often caused by changes in air pressure that cause the ear's Eustachian tubes to compensate by opening wider or narrowing.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology suggests how to deal with ear pain caused by changes in altitude:

  • Consult with your doctor on how soon after ear surgery it is safe to fly.
  • Postpone an airplane trip if you have a cold, sinus infection or an allergy attack.
  • If you're in good health, take a decongestant pill or nose spray about an hour before the plane you're in begins its descent to your destination.
  • Avoid sleeping during descent.
  • Chew gum or suck on a hard candy just before take-off and during descent.

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