Ear pain especially hurts when we lie down.  Have you ever dealt with a child that seems fine but doesn’t want to lie down?  It can be a sign of a stuffed up ear or an ear infection.


Here is how air pressure works in your ear:

Air in the middle ear passes into the Eustachian tube

The Eustachian tube connects the back of the nose to the middle ear

This allows equal air pressure on both sides of the ear drum.


If your ear pressure can’t equalize due to fluid, infection, or air pressure changes (such as in airplane travel) you may feel pain, pressure, sounds can be muffled (lack of eardrum vibration) or you may hear a clicking sound in your ear.  All of these are a sign of ear trouble.

Common causes of blocked Eustachian tubes and ear pressure trouble:

  • Colds
  • Allergies
  • Changes in air pressure (plane travel)
  • Changes in elevation which effect air pressure (driving or climbing a mountain)


Your body usually handles changes in air pressure automatically but if the changes are sudden or your system is already compromised you may need to:

  • Swallow
  • Yawn
  • Chew gum
  • Suck on hard candy

Air pressure naturally rises when you are reclined and also rises the longer you sleep.  This is due to the fact that air doesn’t pass through the Eustachian tube as freely when reclined and you swallow much less when sleeping.


The worst time for your ears is takeoff or descent.  Don’t go to sleep until the plane reaches altitude.

Key Points

  • 1Air travel and ear pressure and popping go hand in hand.
  • 2If you sleep during your flight you may not swallow enough to keep your ear pressure evened out.
  • 3If you’re having trouble with your ears it can impact your sleep.


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