The majority of us have experienced an uncomfortable popping sensation in our ears when an airplane is ascending or descending.
This is caused by the change in air pressure inside a structure called the eustachian tube, which is located in the middle ear.
However, for many people, this pressure change is more than a momentary annoyance. It can cause intense pain and discomfort in some cases, which is the last thing you want, whether you’re jetting off on vacation or flying to an important conference.
If you’re somebody who’s experienced bad ear pain in flight, you may find yourself feeling put off air travel altogether. But wait! Before you commit yourself to travel by road and ferry for the rest of your life, you should know that there are ways to alleviate your discomfort.
Earplugs have long been recommended as a solution to airplane-related ear pain, but unfortunately, many of the earplugs on the market aren’t designed to hold up against dramatic pressure changes.
This is not the case with EarPlanes. EarPlanes are earplugs constructed specifically to regulate pressure in the eustachian tube during air travel.
We’re going to be reviewing the renowned EarPlanes in today’s article, complete with an introduction to the manufacturer and a breakdown of the key features you should be aware of!
An Insight into EarPlanes
EarPlanes recently celebrated the product’s 25th anniversary. EarPlanes is a main brand within Cirrus Healthcare Products: a company specializing in ear protection and noise cancellation.
Cirrus Healthcare was founded in 1996. Having been in business for over 25 years, this manufacturer is known for its affordable prices and innovative designs, which help to alleviate the risk to ear health associated with certain sports and modes of travel.
- Hypoallergenic silicone - Skin-safe and comfortable
- CeramX filter - Slows pressure buildup
- 20-decibel noise reduction - Ideal for relaxation or focus
- Available in adult and child sizes - Suitable for all
- Sold in multipacks - Easy to replace
- Reusable packaging - Ideal for storage
- Not fully noise-canceling -
EarPlanes Buying Guide
If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the review of Cirrus Healthcare’s EarPlanes, here it is!
We’ll be going through each of the main features that make up the EarPlanes so that you can get a clear picture of this product and how it works.
Hypoallergenic Silicone Material
Let’s start by considering the material that the EarPlanes are made from.
EarPlanes are constructed using soft, hypoallergenic silicone. This is, arguably, the best material for earplugs that are designed for airplane use.
This is because the softness, smoothness, and flexibility of the material allow the earplug to sit inside the ear comfortably without causing any additional discomfort.
Additionally, because the silicone is hypoallergenic and latex-free, anyone can use EarPlanes! They won’t cause any allergic reactions, so whether you have a known allergy to latex or simply know that you have sensitive skin, you don’t need to worry.
What really makes the EarPlanes stand out amongst other competitors in the world of airplane-friendly earplugs, however, is the CeramX Filter.
This filter is located just outside the part of the EarPlane that gets inserted into your ears. Once inserted, the filter’s job is to literally filter the air that comes into the ear, slowing down the buildup of pressure, and effectively minimizing the risk of pain.
The reason this works so well is that ear pain due to pressure is that the eardrum is essentially being put under stress by a rapid increase in the air inside the ear canal.
Most earplugs on the market are designed for noise reduction. Even though EarPlanes were developed primarily for pain reduction, they also serve the same function as the standard earplug.
The ribbed tips of the EarPlanes have noise-reducing properties, so if you’re on a long-haul flight, you’ll be able to get some rest, free from discomfort and background noise.
It’s important to note, though, that EarPlanes are not completely noise-canceling. They’ll reduce the sounds of your surroundings by 20 decibels. For context, that’s the equivalent of turning the noise from an alarm clock down to the average snoring level.
EarPlanes come in 2 sizes: adult and child. The adult EarPlanes are longer because, of course, they are designed to fit a longer ear canal. The adult size is also designed to fit the vast majority of ear sizes in this range.
However, while the child-sized EarPlanes are perfect for kids, they’re also a viable option for adults with smaller ears.
Even better, EarPlanes are currently sold in packs of 3, 5, and 10.
This is great because you can’t use a single pair of EarPlanes indefinitely (see Frequently Asked Questions), so it’s always useful to have spares on hand.
Something else we like about the EarPlanes is that each pair comes individually packaged in a resealable tub.
Now, this isn’t the most eco-friendly, and nor is the fact that the earplugs are not fully reusable (see Frequently Asked Questions).
However, the packaging does allow you to reuse the EarPlanes for the recommended number of uses, and you might even be able to repurpose the packaging in other ways after you’ve disposed of the earplugs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I use my EarPlanes?
EarPlanes might look slightly more intimidating than your average pair of earplugs due to their shape, but they’re actually very easy to use.
Because ear pain can occur both during ascent and descent (both cause a drastic change in air pressure inside the ears), you should insert your EarPlanes before the airplane takes off. This is really simple - just take your EarPlanes out of their plastic tub and carefully push them into place until they feel secure but comfortable.
Be sure to keep the tub for later if this is the first leg of your trip. The original (clean) packaging is a convenient way to keep your EarPlanes free from dust and bacteria between now and the return journey.
Once the airplane has completed its ascent, you might want to remove the EarPlanes (placing them safely back in the packaging). Alternatively, you can choose to leave them in if you want to benefit from their noise-reducing properties.
If you do remove your EarPlanes, make sure to put them back in before the plane lands. You’ll need to watch the clock in this case because the best way to avoid any ear discomfort during the descent is to put the earplugs back in about 45 minutes before landing.
Can I reuse my EarPlanes?
You can use a single pair of EarPlanes for one round trip, meaning the outgoing and incoming legs of a trip. Essentially, it’s safe to use your EarPlanes twice before replacing them with another pair.
The reason for this is that dust and other particles can begin to accumulate inside the CeramX filter. These particles can block the filter, rendering the EarPlanes less effective.
Can I use EarPlanes if I have an allergy or a cold?
Yes, EarPlanes are safe to use if you’re dealing with a cold or any allergies that affect the pressure changes in your eustachian tubes.
In fact, EarPlanes may be especially beneficial for cold or allergy sufferers because these conditions can make fluctuations in ear pressure worse than usual.
If your ears are already intermittently sore as a result of an allergy or cold, the last thing you want to have to deal with is an additional pressure disturbance. Therefore, EarPlanes are highly recommended for this demographic.
Can you wear headphones on top of EarPlanes?
You can ear headphones over the top of your EarPlanes as long as the headphones are large enough to accommodate the earplugs.
Over-ear headphones with large ear cups are the best choice if you want to be able to listen to music or other media without worrying about ear pain.
However, remember that EarPlanes reduce surrounding noise by 20 decibels, so be prepared to turn your volume up higher than usual.
If you’re somebody who regularly experiences ear pain on flights, we highly recommend that you invest in a few pairs of EarPlanes.
Not only are EarPlanes highly functional in their primary purpose (regulating pressure inside the ear), they’re also comfortable to wear due to their silicone construction.
Additionally, EarPlanes are effective at reducing cabin noise by 20 decibels, maximizing your chances of being able to get some sleep on a long flight or enjoy in-flight entertainment undisturbed.
However, if you’re committed to living a zero-waste lifestyle, the disposable nature of EarPlanes may be a problem for you. Similarly, if you’re looking exclusively for pain-relieving earplugs that are completely noise-canceling, EarPlanes will not meet your expectations.
Ultimately, if you don’t mind replacing them for each round trip and you don’t need complete silence to enjoy a flight, EarPlanes are an excellent choice.