General Question

eadinad's avatar

Is it a bad idea to wear ear plugs on an airplane?

Asked by eadinad (1278points) May 13th, 2009

I want to sleep on my upcoming plane ride, and I was planning on wearing earplugs. But it occurred to me it might be a bad idea, and affect the effect of the changing air pressure. Is this true or do I have nothing to worry about?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

6 Answers

Stanley's avatar

If your ears start to hurt take them out.

hearkat's avatar

They make earplugs specifically for this purpose… called EarPlanes. They change the pressure more gradually, so there is less discomfort.

You put them in before takeoff and keep them in for a half-hour after reaching cruising altitude. They can be removed after that or left in for noise attenuation. If you remove them, they should be re-inserted about half-an hour before landing. This is from memory from the times I used them for my son who had chronic ear infections in early childhood. The specific directions will be in the package.

They come in adult and children’s sizes, and are available at most drug store chains.

Les's avatar

I flew on a C-17 and we had to wear ear plugs the whole time (them are some noisy planes). I didn’t have any problems with pressure (well, no more than I usually do).

hearkat's avatar

@Les: If you keep the ear plugs in the entire time (inserting before takeoff and removing after landing) there shouldn’t be a problem. But if one were to put standard plugs in before takeoff and remove them while in flight, the sudden pressure change could cause problems. I’d expect this would be worse with solid rubber/silicone/waxy plugs than with porous foam plugs… but it would also depend on how well they were inserted in terms of the integrity of the seal.
I don’t have any clinical research or anecdotal evidence to reference, I am just basing this on my knowledge of ears and earplugs from 17 years as an Audiologist.

Les's avatar

@hearkat: Huh. Well that makes sense to me. It would probably be pretty hard to get them in there so snugly that they caused damage, but still, interesting stuff. Good answers.

Judi's avatar

Most commercial planes are pressurized so ear problems are usually minimal unless you have sinus or ear issues already.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther