No matter your anticipation and travel plans, experiencing ear distress can damper your mood and make for an uncomfortable flight. Equilibrium loss during air travel occurs when the air pressure in the middle ear fluctuates during a change in altitude and imbalance in cabin air pressure. Symptoms are typically detected while the aircraft is ascending and descending, and can be diminished or nonexistent when restoring balance to the middle ear.

Take a nasal decongestant or use spray nasal spray at least an hour before take-off if you have cold, flu, hayfever, sinus infection or ear infection symptoms, such as congestion, sneezing, runny nose or and ear ache. Such ailments increase the chance of equilibrium loss while flying by clogging the eustachian tube that leads to the middle ear, resulting in pain during changes in altitude.

Wear ear plugs for the entirety of the flight. Ear plugs slow down air movement in and out of the eustachian tube, allowing your inner ear more time to equalize the air pressure of the ear with that of the cabin pressure.

Suck on a piece of hard candy, chew gum, yawn or swallow during take-off and descent to open the eustachian tubes that lead to the middle ear. Opening the eustachian tubes helps balance inner ear pressure, preventing symptoms of equilibrium loss while flying.

Drink water to stay hydrated throughout your flight. Drinking water increase swallowing, which helps unclog the ears.

Detect equilibrium loss symptoms while in-flight by being aware of symptoms. Symptoms include ringing ears, popping ears, vertigo, nausea, dizziness, faintness, motion sickness and disorientation.

Stay seated and refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages while in-flight, as such beverage exacerbate equilibrium loss symptoms by inhibiting your senses.

Close your eyes and keep your head still during flight to lessen equilibrium loss effects of motion sickness. The inner ear detects differences between vision and body motion due to fluid movement within the ear canal as the head or body moves, leading to a sense of imbalance and dizziness.

Pinch your nose while your mouth is closed and breath out through the nose to balance ear pressure while descending.

Things You Will Need
  • Nasal decongestant or nasal spray

  • Ear plugs

  • Hard candy or gum

  • Water