I've been having an terrible experience when ever I'm descending to Barcelona. My ears would clog so bad that it would even hurt for a couple of seconds. That it self doesn't cause a problem. The thing that irritates me is that it takes a couple of days to regain my original hearing level, which is often followed with a headache (I don't have any hearing problem, nor any health issue).

I've descended to multiple cities and only experienced this while landing to Barcelona. I've landed to other cities which stand at sea-level and didn't experience such issues.

On my ultimate landing, I tried the valsalva maneuver, as well as chewing, swallowing and other things that could possibly unclog the ears. None of it was efficient.

Are there any preventives for this case? It's really annoying to deal with if every time after the specific flight. Furthermore I'm scared that it can damage my hearing in a long time.

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    "it takes a couple of days to regain my original hearing level" - this is not normal. Maybe you should see a doctor Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 14:40
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    One possible problem is waiting until you notice the pressure difference or feel the discomfort. By that point, the pressure differential may be large enough to make it very difficult to equalize. Throughout your flight, especially in the final 45 minutes, perform your ear-clearing maneuvers every minute or two, whether or not you feel the need.
    – abelenky
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 14:41
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    Whether the solutions worked for you is independent of if the question is duplicate. Perhaps you could off a bounty on the question to solicit more answers. Personally I'd recommend you see a doctor if none of the proposed solutions work for you.
    – Notts90
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 15:27
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    Always the same airline or different ones?
    – mkennedy
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 17:17
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    Do you consistently fly a particular airline/aircraft when going to Barcelona? It seems much more likely that your issue is with, say, the pressurization level of a specific flight, as opposed to some issue with BCN in general. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 19:03

2 Answers 2


Since you stated you've tried (most of) the tricks listed on "Best way to make my ears pop", the only thing I can think of is taking an allergy drug that has decongestant in it (such as cetirizine+pseudoefedrine) about a half an hour before descend begins. Soma nasal sprays may also work. You should consult a doctor or a pharmacist for more detailed information.

And, as @abelenky stated in his/her comment, one should start "working" the ears as soon as the descend starts. If you have a tendency to get clogged ears, it may be that even a small pressure difference may totally block your eustachian tubes.

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    ...and there is a remote possibility that the standard arrival routes to Barcelona or a congested traffic situation require a steeper than usual descend. In this/these case(s) one's ears would be more likely to get clogged. Unlikely, but I'll try to look it up and if this is the case (steep STAR), I'll amend my answer.
    – Jpe61
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 16:28
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    Are you sure about the antihistamine? A decongestant seems to be more plausible. (Admittedly, there are many combination drugs that contain both an antihistamine (such as cetirizine) and a decongestant (such as pseudoephedrine).)
    – Uwe
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 16:29
  • @Uwe good point, IIRC just any antihistamine might not work, only those that have the decongestant effect. I'll edit my answer.
    – Jpe61
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 17:03

The curious thing here is that you state in your question that you have no problem with other sea level airports so it seems very unlikely that the usual tricks will work.

I would suggest either flying to Girona instead although there are fairly limited charter flights there and it is about 75km from Barcelona or even flying to Madrid and getting the AVE train which takes under three hours from central Madrid to Barcelona Sants station. You would still have to add in the time to get to central Madrid. If you are aiming for southern Catalonia Alicante might be another option for airports too.

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