Have to fly soon with my chronic ETD help!

Posted , 12 users are following.

Hi everyone long story short I've had my ETD since May of 2016 consistently with hardly any relief. Everyone I know is sick of hearing about it haha. My ENT has given me the steroid sprays which have done nothing and says that I'm too young (25) for him to want to do any surgeries because it's too risky. Anyway I have a flight coming up and I'm getting quite nervous because I have avoided flying since this problem began. Unfortunately I have no choice I need to fly. My ENT has assured me I'll be fine and to just take Afrin before take off and landing. Just wondering if any of you could share your experience when flying with this annoying ear problem as I'm quite nervous! I would appreciate any responses.

Thank you,


2 likes, 29 replies

29 Replies

  • Posted

    I am glad to see a success story re plane travel 😊. I have only recently started my ETD journey and like you, it came out of nowhere. I was in the process of seeking out my next overseas trip when it all started so I have put those plans on hold until I get ETD advice. Great to hear that travel is still an option post ETD diagnosis.

  • Posted

    Thanks for starting this discussion, laurag228. I'm flying tomorrow and am really scared. Plan to go and buy the earplanes this afternoon. Already have the Sudafed and Afrin. Physician Assistant looked at my ear today and said she saw a slight narrowing in one ear but assured me I would not lose hearing if I fly tomorrow. I'm at the tail end of a cold and can breathe fine but feel a slight fullness in one ear which she said may be due so some fluid left over from the cold. I had a traumatic experience years ago when I asked for water at the start of descent to help me swallow. The flight attendant screamed at me "Didn't you know you shouldn't fly with a cold? You could go deaf!" It's hard to shake that memory. 

    I'm thinking of adding some Ibuprofen to the mix tomorrow as it is an anti-inflammatory. Maybe it would reduce the swelling she say in my ear? 

    Will be taking two flights - one short and one long. Thinking of trying the 4 hour Sudafed so I can time it for maximum effect during the landing of the overseas flight. Still scared....but hearing your story helps me to have confidence that it won't be as bad as that terrifying time years ago when I only had gum and a flight attendant scolding mesad

  • Posted

    This makes me feel a little better knowing you can fly with this. However with my ETD I dunno. The pressure builds up in my head and temple area if I even go up high in a building already. I can't imagine what it would be like 30,000 ft in the air lol. My ETD is constant popping and crackling in my ears when I yawn, open my mouth or do an internal yawn. I do it so it releases some of the "fullness" in my ears. I've been to 3 ENTs, had very little success. Balloon Sinuplasty helped with severe pain in the beginning which was 7 months ago (on allergy shots too). For some reason my eustachian tubes won't equalize and it's causing this popping which is annoying. Well I'll keep the earplanes, afrin, and Sudafed in mind if I ever do decide to fly again. Thanks!

    • Posted

      That’s hard since your ETD bothers you even going high up in a building. I also have constant cracking and popping everytime I swallow/open my mouth/yawn. It is very annoying but I guess after all this time I’m used to it. But once every few months one ear completely unblocks for about 15 second and I remember what it’s like to be clear again then of course goes right away haha. It’s vey frustrating to have the constant pressures and for me it gets worse if I’m somewhere loud. Did your ENT say anything about flying? Both Of mine act like it’s no big deal and I’m over reacting. Flying was fine everytime when I was clear but last time I was at the very end of a cold and had severe pain during the descent. I hope that it would be possible for you because it sucks not being able to fly. I was too scared to fly a few years ago I even missed a wedding! Hope you get some relief from your symptoms one way or another! It’s a tough thing to have that’s constantly bothering you that no one else really understands. 
    • Posted

      I know. What a pain. The 3rd ENT I saw said he was dumbfounded. He wants to possibly do another CT Scan to see what it looks like now after the Balloon Sinuplasty.

      So if I pull my ears outwards OR Take my finger and pull back inside my ear, the crackling and popping stops. Once I let go, it comes back within seconds. I just can't understand how there is no medicine or procedure/surgery to fix this. I'm seeing another ENT next week lol, I'm determined to find someone that can help me.

      I don't have to fly for any reason but it would be helpful to know if I could. The pressure did improve though, because I was 40 floors up in a building over the weekend and it wasn't as bothersome as 20 floors over 2 months ago (right when I had the balloon Sinuplasty). So maybe in time if I did have to fly, it wouldn't "kill me".

      As for now, I just keep taking the stupid Flonase, singulair, and these allergy shots. The ENT that is giving me the allergy shots seems to think it will work over time with the shots, because the serum gets stronger every time it's made.

      And yes, no one seems to get it, what we are going thru. I would love to find someone on this site or somewhere that has beaten this, I mean c'mon! Anyways, I'll keep you posted on my struggles or if there are any positive updates.

  • Posted

    I relate so much to all of you. Had chronic EDT since 2016 (almost 3 years now). My ears don't feel blocked/muffled, but they incessantly pop with every jaw movement. Day to day it bothers my family more than me, because I have to intentionally pop my ears and let the fluid build up drain in to my mouth otherwise I get horrific sinus pain behind my eye (left me in a and e before I knew the cause). I too can't do tall buildings without pain and blocked ears.

    For me I didn't have much choice in flying, it started a week before my booked holiday out of no where, Drs kept reassuring me it was temporary due to allergy season. Flight out was ok, ascent was manageable and flight itself was ok but after descent was partially deaf (sounded like being fully underwater) in my blocked ear for an hour (which really frightened me). On the way back descent just caused severe pain. Swallowing and chewing did nothing for me, the blockage was too bad, neither did using a decongestant spray but maybe in conjunction with more it would have helped.

    When my Dr saw it was chronic I was sent to an ENT, they told me I'd need balloon dilation and did a CT. But after my CT they were confident surgery wouldn't solve my issues to the extent I needed, and also confident that the cause was from grinding my teeth in my sleep I'd weakened the jaw mechanism and that'd somehow blocked my eustachian tube. Apparently alls I need is a gum shield and time for it to heal, will hopefully sort that soon. Just wanted to mention this as many of you have said you still don't know the cause and I was fobbed off with allergy excuses for too long.

    I came to the forum because I'd love a holiday but I'm too scared to fly, after my last symptoms with the pain and lack of hearing I'm worried I narrowly pushed my luck and might end up with a burst eardrum thanks to online horror stories. My ENT was happy for me to fly, but I'm still scared. I will try ear plugs though as I didn't use any last time.

    • Posted

      Hey, its almost been 1 year since the popping has started and i can say its gotten a lot better. i had the balloon sinusplasty doin in April and stared Allergy shots in June. im on my 3rd serum for the allergy shots and the ENT is convinced it will go away hopefully by Summer. Elevation has improved as well, in tall buildings. i haven't tempted flying, but i haven't had a reason to fly either.

      i agree with the grinding of teeth. i have a mouth guard and have been using that also. I've seen 4 ENT's in Philadelphia. Each affiliated from different hospitals. They all had basically came to the same diagnosis about it being allergies. The crazy thing is still, i haven't gotten a sinus infection in almost a year now since the procedure and shots! Usually i get 4-6 per year so something is working. The ENT does want me to slowly come off the Zyrtec and Singular, to see how i manage with the shots so ive been doing that for the past month.

      What a pain this has been to deal with. i don't have to pop my ears much anymore, but it's always there whether i pop it or not. I have one more serum to hit before the allergy shots are at it's max strength. i hope this works. at least it's improving & i hope it will for you all as well.

    • Posted

      I'm so glad to hear you're doing better!!!! i still have the constant popping as well but after three years I suppose I'm used to it and am just thankful it isn't as bad as it used to be (:

    • Posted

      Sorry to hear you've been dealing with this for so long.. I know how frustrating it is. My ears also pop with with every single jaw movement.. I just try to ignore it the best I can haha.

      Very interesting about the gum guard I will have to look into that thank you for sharing!! All of my ENTs brush it off and it is so frustrating that I've given up but I will check that out for sure.

      I just went on vacation and with the afrin and earplane ear plugs I had no discomfort! I highly recommend them they block everything out so there is no discomfort that I usually experience when flying. The descent is the most stressful part though. Once I flew with a slight cold and even with earplanes I was very uncomfortable but so long as you have no congestion you should be ok! Don't let it stop you from traveling!

      Hope you feel better soon keep us posted (:

  • Posted

    Hi all. I echo that there is literally nothing on this subject anywhere on the internet. I am flying next week and I am so scared. I have had Ear issues for 10 years now beginning with too much wax in my outer ear causing muffled hearing, which i now have under control. The real issue now is the Eustachian tube. colds and hay fever ruin me through the summer. The last flight I had, my ear felt like it was going to explode and I had to use an Otovent to force pop it which was scary in itself. I have an allergy spray and sudafed ready. I do have some earplanes but again I am worried that if I use them it may create a wax issue as they will push excess wax further in to my ear. I am so worried what should I do?

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