There was a time when I would peruse airline magazines, see an ad for a travel gadget and think to myself, “There is no way that works!”. My thinking changed in 2017 during landing on a flight from LAX to Oahu.
I started traveling at a young age, and I remember experiencing extreme ear pain whenever our plane would start its descent into the airport. Back then, the flight attendant would bring me two styrofoam cups with steaming hot, wet paper towels stuffed inside and I would place them over my ears. I never researched the science behind the method, but it worked.
Fast forward to my air travel experience as an adult. I seemed to have outgrown the extreme ear pain, and the descent of a plane would only bring the minor annoyance of clogged and popping ears. I always had a pack of gum in my purse, and would chew, chew, chew as the plane descended and taxied to the terminal.
One time, I flew after having a cold and remained congested on the day of our flight. I experienced minor pain when landing. As we gathered our luggage from the overhead compartment, a flight attendant overheard me telling my husband that I couldn’t hear him, and suggested that I purchase a decongestant before getting on our next flight.
I learned from that experience, and at the slightest hint of congestion before a flight, I took a decongestant. That seemed to solve my problem and I flew happily ever after.
I wish I could say that was true, but it wasn’t.
I booked a vacation to Oahu with my family in December 2017 and divided the trip into two segments. The first leg of the trip was from our home airport to LAX, where we stayed overnight before our flight the next morning. I was not congested before flying, didn’t take any decongestant, and had no problems with my ears. As usual, I chewed gum upon descent and had the usual result of clogged ears for an hour or so. Our flight from LAX to Honolulu departed the next morning, and once again I boarded our plane congestion and decongestant free.
While I was on the flight, I browsed through an in-flight magazine and saw an ad for a device called Eustachi. The main caption on the page drew my attention because it mentioned something about “unclogging ears naturally”, and I was still dealing with clogged ears upon landing. “It might be nice to have clearer hearing when I land and not have to wait an hour to hear clearly”, I thought.
I also prefer to treat minor symptoms naturally, and that appealed to me too. But, the in-flight-ad-magazine-doubter that I was, I thought it wouldn’t work. Still, I went ahead and took a mental note of the name of the pharmacy in Honolulu that sold Eustachi, and settled in for a nap.
My ears always tell me when the plane has made even the slightest change in altitude, and they were telling me loud and clear that this was going to be a painful landing for me. My pain was slight at first, but by the time the pilot announced the approach to the Honolulu airport, I was in a lot of pain. I furiously chewed a piece of gum and my husband offered me his hand for comfort.
Tears ran down my face. I wasn’t sobbing, but it hurt so much that I couldn’t stop the tears. The tears made my nose run and I blew my nose, which gave me a little relief.
I don’t usually multitask, but I was chewing gum, holding (ok, tightly squeezing/gripping) my husband’s hand and blowing my nose at the same time. Thank goodness for the window seat that I could turn towards to hide my tears of pain.
My ears remained fully clogged that day and the next. I Googled Eustachi, and read the reviews of many satisfied customers. The pharmacy that I made a mental note of on the plane was located a few miles away from our resort. I couldn’t have been happier to find Eustachi on the store shelf, because even if it didn’t work, it was worth trying because my ears were clogged, and I definitely didn’t want to deal with pain like that ever again.
The Eustachi did exactly what it said it would do, and I was able to hear clearly the next morning. I used it every day during our trip to keep my ears clear. The true test was the flight back home, which was also divided into two segments. I used Eustachi the morning of our flight and had no problem with ear pain upon descent on either segment of our flight.
When I am at home and experience clogged ears due to sinus problems or a cold, guess what comes to the rescue to relieve my symptoms? My Eustachi is one of the first things I pack when I travel, and I use it a couple of days preceding air travel.
I’ve flown twice this year without any ear pain and clogged ears are no longer an issue when the plane lands. It no longer sounds like people are talking to me while I’m at the bottom of a pool.
Health and wellness have a huge impact on the enjoyment I experience during travel and when I arrive at my destination. If it took an ad in an in-flight magazine to help me learn to be more optimistic, then, #lessonlearned.
If you’ve ever found a product in an in-flight magazine that has become your favorite item to travel with, and it has improved your travel experience, I would like to hear about it in the comments below.