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Does a Baby Ears Hurt When Flying

Posted on 07 October 2022 by (0)

It is normal to have an ear-popping sensation when flying. Even in young kids and babies, it is the same and can be scary at first. But it is a standard part of flying. The uncomfortable sensation is related to the change in air pressure behind the eardrum. The Eustachian tube is a pathway that equalizes the air pressure in the middle ear to the outside air by opening and letting the air reach the eardrum. When our ears ‘pop’ when yawning or swallowing, these tubes adjust the air pressure in the middle ear.

In kids, the relatively narrow Eustachian may not do this well, especially if they are clogged with mucus from an ear infection or blocked by swollen adenoids.

When climbing a mountain, using an elevator, or even flying, the air pressure decreases as you go higher and increase as you go lower. If you don’t equalize the pressure, the higher air pressure pushes to one side of the eardrum, causing pain. That is why most babies cry the last few minutes in landing as the air pressure increases in the cabin and the airplane prepares to land.

However, this pain is temporary and will not cause lasting problems for the kid. It will ease a few minutes after the eustachian tube opens up to let the air pressure equalize on both sides of the eardrum.

If your child has ear problems, the doctor will usually recommend delayed flights, if possible, until the infection is gone. It will help your child avoid increased pain and possible tears in the eardrum.

How to Ease the Ear Pain

  • Have your kid drink plenty of water throughout the flight. It encourages swallowing, which opens up the Eustachian tubes.
  • Take ibuprofen half an hour before taking off and landing if your child has ear pain when landing.
  • Yawn frequently
  • Stay awake during take-offs and landings because keeping the air pressure equalized in the middle ear is harder.

Final Thoughts 

With the above tips and other simple precautions, you can now make your next family flight less stressful and comfortable for both you and your child.