Airplane ear

Hi everyone

So I just took a flight with AA a few days ago from Missouri to Texas, to come back for school since Thanksgiving break was ending(I’m 17 btw) and everytime I fly, I always seem to have airplane ear. It’s quite severe with my left ear because my left ear had an infection when I was little, but my hearing and everything is perfect. During that flight a few days ago, it got pretty bad and it was hurting on my left ear, and I just can’t help but wonder, would something like that prevent me from being a commerical airline pilot, even though I have perfect hearing? Would the FAA allow me to wear airplane ear plugs? Thanks for your help!


I have no idea how the FAA would look at this, or how they would consider airplane ear plugs. I can tell you that if this is a recurring problem for you, it would be very difficult to successfully fly an airplane while dealing with this condition. The occasional ear ache is one thing, reoccurring ear aches are quite another. Perhaps you should make an appoint to see an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor.


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ok, thank you! I think I may take a discovery flight or something that will get me in the air again and see if it happens again

A discovery flight will not get you anywhere near high enough in altitude to cause any sort of conditions. You could likely go through all of your flight training and never get to a high enough altitude. The problem comes with flying on a pressurized aircraft. I strongly recommend you get this resolved before spending money on flight school.

oh I see. I’ll try to find a solution to this before I pursue this career, thank you so much Chris!

Consult with an ENT (ear, nose & throat) doctor. I use to get water blisters on my ear drums from rapid pressurization skydiving. Made it sound like I was under water for weeks at a time. I had permanent t-tubes (ear tubes) installed in 2003. They work great! No need to equalize, no ear popping, pressure pain or blisters again. The only downside is scuba and snorkeling require special procedures. Still doable though.

You may be too young for permanent t-tubes but there are certainly solutions an ENT can help with. The FAA hasn’t had any concern with mine.

I’m with Kevin on this and go to an ENT. In Scuba diving you can equalize your ears by holding your nose and blowing gently like you are blowing your nose. It works the same way descending in an airplane. If you aren’t able to learn a way to clear your ears then you might struggle when flying and need to see an ENT.