Protecting Your Ears When Flying

Related Conditions: Nasal Obstruction

Flying ear protection image

Flying with Eustachian tube (ET) dysfunction carries the risk of middle ear damage. The rapid pressure changes in the aircraft cabin may be too quick if your ET is not working properly. If you can not breathe at all through your nose then flying should be avoided. Every other situation carries a risk for which the following suggestions may help.

Auto-inflation exercise:

Gently popping the ears through cheek puffing can be very useful.

Chewing gum:

The muscles that attach to the Eustachian tube are also involved in chewing. Sugar-free gum is an excellent adjunct to exercise the ET. *Recommended 5 years old +.


2- 3 sprays each nose taken 30 minutes before take-off and landing. 

Saline sprays:

These can help shift mucus from the nose and improve nasal breathing and ET function. Start 2-3 days prior to flying.

Intra-nasal steroid spray:

We may also prescribe you a spray to use in the mornings or at night. Even if you have used these medications before, they are often still helpful in conjunction with the above efforts. It should be used at least 2-3 days prior to flying when prescribed.