This review is sponsored by EarPlanes. See full disclaimer below.
I don’t know about you, but in most cases, when I travel by air, I get a headache by the time we’ve landed, or worst case – a migraine. It makes sense to me, I have migraine disease, so it’s not difficult for me to get headaches or migraine. When I was asked to give a review in exchange for EarPlanes, I was more than willing to give them a shot.
I recently took a trip to New York City, NY in late January 2018 to speak at a blogging conference for women and share about my life with migraine. I flew in general seating, with early boarding since migraine can cause hemiparesis, and sometimes paralyzation, on the left side of my body. You can understand why I would try any product just to avoid a migraine! Think about it, a migraine on top of all the hustle and bustle of getting through security and rushing to the gate. I use a wheelchair to either avoid a migraine from the physical stress of hurrying through terminals, or because I have an active migraine for the same reason. Take your pick! It’s stressful just to get through the logistics of flying. Stress, for me, is a migraine trigger.
EarPlanes are a patented pressure-regulating earplug inserted in the ear to help reduce discomfort often associated with air travel. They were developed by Cirrus Healthcare Products LLC in conjunction with the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles, and have been tested by US Navy aviators at the Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego.
The FAQ section also described how and why they work. It’s interesting reading, I suggest you give it a look and decide for yourself. Reading through all the different FAQs available, I am even more eager to use them. Also, on the FAQ page are a few “Air Travel ‘Ear Tips'” to do before and during the flight while using EarPlanes. A few examples were:
- Take a decongestant 24 hours before flying to keep air passages and ears clear.
- Chew gum or drink fluids through altitude changes during flight to equalize the pressure in the middle ear.
- Neo-Synephrine nasal spray shortly after boarding the aircraft and again 45 minutes before the aircraft is due to land to keep the nasal passages open.
I did follow a couple of tips – chew gum and drink fluids. The other tips listed on the website are suggestions I definitely plan to use for my next flight. I found them to be valuable for anyone, even without EarPlanes.
When the EarPlanes arrive in the mail, I am super excited. I just want to give them a try to find out just how well I can avoid a headache or migraine at landing, but I have to wait. My flight isn’t for two more weeks. I read through all the directions a few times to feel comfortable enough with them for travel day. I pack them up in the provided travel box patiently wait for travel day.
Where I live, in Fayetteville, NC, I do not need wheelchair service at the regional airport. The place is so small, it’s just not necessary, unless it is due to symptoms. I also do not use EarPlanes on this first leg from Fayetteville to Charlotte, NC since it’s a 30-minute flight. We arrive in Charlotte with a 90-minute layover to New York City. During this break I opt to use a wheelchair to try to avoid any head pain and physical muscle symptoms. It’s the smart thing to do in this case.
Following the directions provided in the box, I pinch my nose and blow to clear my ears. I attach the included, matching lanyard to each ear plug. I’m assuming this is to keep the person from losing them. Also, it’s perfect for clumsy kids like me! Once attached, I screw the ear plugs into my ear canal, per the directions for chronic sufferers, before boarding for the flight. Since I have chronic migraine, I decided to consider myself a chronic sufferer. I use the child sized EarPlanes made to combat pressure changes in airplanes for children and adults with small ears, like me. I have tiny ears, so there was no way I was plugging in the adult size!
Please note, I have sensitive ear canals already, so the right ear was a bit tender after I screwed in the ear plug (I have a difficult time wearing inner-ear headphones sometimes due to this sensitivity). I notice I hear more through my right ear than I do my left after they are both inserted. I try to re-insert the right ear plug, but it just causes more irritation, so I leave it in, as is. My left ear canal is very comfortable with the EarPlanes inserted. I have no discomfort and it feels snug. After both ear plugs are in, I have to listen carefully to the flight attendant, as they diminish my hearing. To combat that, I sit close and keep my eye on the monitors…and Stephen (my husband) gently taps me on the arm to get my attention.
It’s time to board and the EarPlanes are safely tucked into my ear. I find my seat, stow my carry-on’s, and get as comfortable as I can. Since the lanyard hangs safely behind my head, I do not have any issues with pulling or tugging. I can hear the pilot give flight information and hear the flight attendants well enough. When I can’t, Stephen helps me out.
We reach maximum altitude, as broadcast by the pilot, and I remove the EarPlanes. I have no ear popping or a feeling of fullness. It’s a great sensation! This popping and pressure feeling leads to headaches in most cases. Not this time. We are still mid-flight and so far, so good. On the EarPlanes box, it states, “…reinserted one hour BEFORE landing.” I follow these guidelines and don’t remove them again until the plane door opens. Still no popping, nor a headache or migraine in sight! I repeat this process on my way back home with the same results.
A migraine during travel has always been part of my life. At least a headache. If the migraine is strong enough, it will sometimes cause cancellations at my destination or a miserable few days until it recedes. If you have chronic migraine, like I do, I highly suggest EarPlanes. I’ve only used them on this trip, but I plan to use them again. I am sold!
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the developing company, and/or its affiliates, in any way. Amazon Affiliate links are provided in this post.