Flying with blocked ears

26 January 2023
Ear Hygiene Clinic 154

How to prevent and relieve ear pain on airplanes

Wax Removal Prior to Flying:

Wax accumulation can cause blocked ears when flying. This is because a build-up of wax aids in additional pressure within the ear canal, and consequently in the eustachian tube, which causes pain.

If you have had problems with painful ears and sinuses when flying, then come and have a consultation/ear clean with our ear hygienists. 

Immediate Relief when Flying:

If you are prone to hay fever, sinus issues, or have recently had a head cold, we recommend that you also take an antihistamine before flying and use a nasal spray for relief when in the air. 

The following sinus treatments can help ease the pain when flying:

  • Antihistamines are available over the counter at your chemist. We recommend Telfast - an antihistamine that is non-drowsy, able to be taken daily, and can be stopped at any time. If this is taken 3 to 4 days prior to flying, accompanied by Otrivin Nasal Spray on flights, this will guard against unnecessary painful ears.
  • Otrivin Nasal Spray is a fast-acting, effective nasal spray to assist in drying out your sinuses, allowing the ear drum to "pop". The best time to use your nasal spray is when the cabin crew announce descent, which is the time when ears feel the most pressure. This can be purchased at a chemist or from our clinic in Ferrymead. 

For further information, come and talk with our ear nurses about pain-free flying. 


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