Flying with blocked ears is not recommended, though it is certainly possible to fly with blocked ears. Choosing to fly while ears are blocked results in added pain and discomfort throughout the flight.
Flying at high altitudes causes large amounts of pressure to be applied to the eardrums. When eardrums are already blocked, the additional pressure applied causes an increase in pain. The pressure could cause the eardrums to rupture, which could result in hearing loss.
Ear blockages are commonly caused by ear infections, sinus infections, common colds or a buildup of excess wax in the ear canal. If any of the aforementioned are possibility, it is advised to seek medical attention prior to committing to any flight itineraries.
Proper cleaning can help to prevent the excess buildup of wax in the ear canal. Ear canals are typically self-cleaning. However, if a blockage is suspected, it is wise to clean the ear canals thoroughly. Some ways to clean the ear canals include irrigation, vacuuming or the use of prescription ear drops to help soften the wax within the ear canal. A traveler should seek medical attention for the treatment of ear blockage if any suspected symptoms are present before stepping onto a flight.