There's plenty of advice on how to make a flight as comfortable as possible from in-flight extras you might not think to ask for, to guides for flying long-haul .
However, whether you're a frequent flyer or it's your first time in an airplane, there's one annoying factor that's nearly impossible to avoid; the sensation of your ears popping.
It can be quite an uncomfortable experience – in some cases even painful – but the good news is that there are some easy tricks that can help relieve the pressure on your ears (and in most cases you won't need to pack anything extra for the journey).
We take a look at just what causes your ears to pop on a plane, as well as sharing some handy tips to help you relieve ear pressure during a flight.
Check out our guide below…
Why do your ears pop on a plane?
It's all to do with the air pressure.
Your inner ear has a pocket of air which should be the same pressure as the air around you. If the external pressure changes, you can feel the air pushing on your ear drum.
During take-off and landing, this external air pressure decreases in a very short space of time.
It means the air trapped in your inner ear will cause your eardrums to push outward, which can lead to discomfort and a 'popping' sensation.
Top tips to ease ear pressure on a flight
Swallow regularly: This helps open the eustachian tube, which is the tube that drains fluid from your ear and regulate air pressure – and it can help ease the pain if your ears are popping. Sucking on a sweet or chewing on gum can help this process. Don't just stick to take-off and landing; doing this throughout the flight can ease the pressure throughout.
Sip on water: Not only will this help you swallow to help ease pressure, but as a bonus, it also keeps you hydrated throughout the flight.
Yawning: Like the process of swallowing, yawning helps to open the eustachian tube and regulate air pressure between your nose and ears.
Try and stay awake: You don't need to stay awake the entire flight – especially if you're on a long-haul journey and need to get some rest – but if you can be awake at least during take-off and landing, it means you can yawn/swallow/sip on water to help ease the pressure at what can be one of the more intense moments of a flight when it comes to ear discomfort.
Think about where you sit: If you have sensitive ears, try booking seats closer to the front of the plane where the engine noise isn't as loud. That doesn't mean you need to fork out for First Class tickets – anywhere in front of the wings can be an advantage.
Tips for children: Children's ears are sensitive so the tricks for little ones are different – you can find out more in our separate guide including a flight attendant's nifty trick to help ease the pain.
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