Nurse says plastic cups could help stop your ears from popping on flights

Anyone who's been on a plane before knows that at take-off and landing you can experience an uncomfortable popping sensation inside your ears. Sometimes it can take quite a few minutes to get the feeling to go away leaving your hearing blocked and crackly.

The 'popping' is caused by the change in air pressure in the cabin. When this occurs, the ear often doesn't react quickly enough and the pressure from your inner ear doesn't balance out to match the pressure in the plane.

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Small children are the worst affected by ear popping on planes – as anyone who's heard a toddler or baby begin to scream as soon as the plane takes off can attest. Parents can prevent this by breastfeeding, providing a dummy or, for older kids, sweets to suck on while you take-off and land.

But, for us adults, several of those options aren't available and you might not want to be eating sweets on a very early or late flight. Thankfully, one expert has shared a useful trick that could help instead.

The Ear Nurse, a specialist who works across the UK and EU posts ear health advice on TikTok as @the_ear_nurse. She recommended an unusual hack to stop you from getting earache during a flight, but joked she'd got "some funny looks" whilst she filmed the short video.

She said that it was a flight attendant hack and a "trick of the trade" that she'd learnt. As flight attendants seem to know about everything skyward it's likely to be effective.

In the video, she said: "Earache whilst flying sucks, so I'm going to show you the earache hack in real-time." She recommended asking for two plastic cups from a flight attendant, and hot paper towels, and said to trust her, because they'll know "exactly what you're asking for."

She said: "Put them both on your ears causing an airtight seal, and the steam helps to stabilise the pressure in the middle ear. It's all to do with barometric pressure." She said the hack can be used on adults or children so if your little one refuses their dummy it may be a handy, and fun, way to stop them feeling any pain.

In the comments, people were amazed at the hack, recommending their own tricks to prevent ears popping and subsequent earache. One wrote: "I chew gum the whole flight and wear earphones it works good."

Another said: "This absolutely works a flight attendant taught us this when my six-year-old had an issue on a flight home many years ago!" Someone else commented: "OMG! I have mild hearing loss and I get lots of ear infections thank you."

Previously, , a frequent flyer even offered their tip for parents – and it should also help with kids who suffer when the cabin pressure changes (if they're not willing to allow cups over their ears).

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A travel fanatic wrote: "A tip I learned for flying with an infant. If they still use a pacifier get a packet of sugar and dip the pacifier in it right before takeoff.

“The sweetness will make them suck on it a lot harder than normal and it will help keep their ears from bothering them on takeoff so you have a lot less crying." We all know kids love sugar so hopefully a little will help them with the pain.

However, we would recommend you keep them limited on how much sugar they ingest. After all, nobody wants to be running after a hyper toddler on a flight.


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