Travel Smarts

Now Hear This

Airplane takeoffs and landings can be quite an earful--literally. During ascent and descent, the rate of air pressure change is typically 500 feet per minute, and for ears with blocked or swollen eustachian tubes, this can cause severe discomfort, sometimes even resulting in burst eardrums and loss of hearing.

Some frequent fliers, however, have found a product that's music to their ears. EarPlanes, developed by Cirrus Air Technologies in Locust Valley, New York, slow the flow of air into and out of the ear canal, lessening the difference in air pressure on the exterior and in-terior of the middle ear. They're ideal for travelers suffering from allergies, colds and sinus conditions (although not recommended for severe cases of sinus congestion), or for people whose ears are simply sensitive to air-pressure changes. What's more, they work well as a noise-suppression tool for those loud seats in the rear of the plane. To order, call (800) EAR-6151.

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This article was originally published in the July 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Travel Smarts.

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