Many people suffer with popping ears when flying, and this can be very uncomfortable. This problem can be especially bad if you have an ear infection or a blocked nose.
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Ears popping is caused by changes in cabin pressure, which your Eustachian tube struggles to adapt to. This is why you’re most likely to feel your ears popping when the plane starts to descend.
One way to stop your ears popping is by wearing ear plugs. In this article we’ll look at 5 of the best ear plugs for flying you can get in the UK.
Best Ear Plugs for Flying
Earplanes are probably the most popular and well known ear plugs designed especially for flying.
They have a unique filter design (the CeramX Filter), which is designed to stop air flowing in and out of the ear canal, helping prevent your ears from popping.
These ear plugs are one-size-fits-all, so they might not fit everyone perfectly. You can buy a smaller version of these ear plugs for children (see below).
Earplanes vs. regular ear plugsPlane
Earplanes are quite similar to regular ear plugs, but there are a few differences:
- Earplanes are designed to regulate air pressure rather than block out noise. This means it’s easier to hear people speaking with Earplanes in than it would be with regular ear plugs designed to dampen sounds.
- Earplanes feature the CeramX Filter which is designed to prevent your ears from popping.
The instructions recommend you put these ear plugs in your ears one hour before landing and don’t take them out until the cabin doors have been opened. This helps keep the pressure in your ears constant while the plane descends.
2. Earplane Kids Smaller Ears Earplugs
These ear plugs are essentially the same as the Earplanes adult ear plugs reviewed above, only smaller to fit children’s ears better.
They’re smartly designed with a special filter designed to keep air pressure constant and stop your ears from popping.
The package doesn’t recommend any age range, but they should be suitable for children aged 2 and above as they’re a bit large for babies’ ears.
If you think your baby suffers from popping ears one trick is to give them a bottle to suck on as the plane descends.
Since they’re designed to stabilise air pressure rather than block out noise, you shouldn’t use these ear plugs for other purposes like watching fireworks. If you’re looking for something to block out noise, see these recommended ear defenders for children or these ear plugs for noise reduction instead.
3. Alpine FlyFit
The Alpine FlyFit ear plugs are some of the main rivals to Earplanes. They’re designed to minimise air pressure changes thereby preventing your ears from popping.
Like Earplanes, they don’t block out noise much so you’ll still be able to have a conversation and hear announcements.
These ear plugs are made from AlpineThermoShape, which is a special thermoplastic material developed by Alpine.
This material is designed to adapt to the shape of your ears, helping create a comfortable fit.
One nice thing about these ear plugs is that they come with a handy carrying case, which is very useful when you’re travelling.
As long as you keep these ear plugs clean you should be able to use them for several flights.
4. Quies Boules Natural Wax Earplugs
Unlike the other ear plugs reviewed here, the Quies Boules Natural Wax Earplugs aren’t designed specifically for flying.
They reduce noise better than the other ear plugs in this list—they have a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 27 dB, which is higher than the 20 dB NRR offered by Earplanes for example.
This means they’re a good choice if you want something to help block out noise when you want to get some sleep.
However, they’re unlikely to be as effective at preventing your ears from popping as they don’t have an air pressure filter.
These ear plugs are made from natural wax, unlike most ear plugs which are made from synthetic materials.
They can be moulded to fit the size and shape of your ear, making them a good alternative to one-size-fits-all ear plugs.
5. Boots Flight Earplugs
Boots produce a lot of affordable products that compare favourably to more expensive branded alternatives. The Boots Flight Earplugs are a good choice if you need something you can buy on the highstreet at the last minute.
You’re advised to put these ear plugs in before the plane takes off and keep them up until it reaches cruising altitude. You then put them back in before the plane starts to descend.
This helps prevent the pressure in your ears from changing as the cabin air pressure changes, which stops your ears from popping.
These ear plugs are washable and reuse, and are recommended for people aged 12 and above.
They’re sold with a carrying case which is really useful when you’re travelling.
Tips for preventing your ears popping when flying
In addition to wearing special ear plugs for flying, there are a few other things you can do to help prevent your ears from popping:
This is the easiest way to stop your ears from popping. Sometimes just yawning when you start to feel the pressure in your ears will do the trick.
2. Chew gum
Chewing gum when the plane is descending is another easy way to prevent your ears from popping.
3. Use the Valsalva manoeuvre
The Valsalva manoeuvre involves closing your mouth, pinching your nose shut and trying to exhale through your nostrils. It’s a common technique for stopping your ears popping when flying.