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A 35-year-old member asked:

if i usually sleep through flights, is there anyway to prevent the problems i have with ear pain on these long flights?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Awaken for landing: The ear issue on flights occurs when the pressurized plane begins to descend to ground level. Air was pushed out of your middle ear space at high altitude balancing the altitude change on your system. As you return to ground level, you need to be awake to yawn, chew gum or otherwise straighten your eustacian tube so air can re-enter your middle ear & equalize the changing pressure.Pain should stop.
Dr. Patrick Melder
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 27 years experience
Use Afrin (oxymetazoline): You can also use afrin before getting on the plane or prior to descent. This will promote decongesting the nasal passages and may help with opening the eusachian tubes for the descent.

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Last updated Dec 6, 2014

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