Cirrus EarPlanes reduce ear pain from altitude change by regulating air pressure in the ears. EarPlanes are not effective for everyone, but most reviewers saw some improvement in their typical ear pain while flying, and they seem to be particularly effective for those with congestion due to colds. EarPlanes can be uncomfortable to wear and are relatively costly for being disposable, but most reviewers are willing to live with these downsides for the benefits.
Reduce ear pain. Cirrus EarPlanes are earplugs designed to help reduce ear pain by regulating air pressure in the ears during altitude changes. USA Today names EarPlanes one of the best earplugs for flying. The vast majority of reviewers at Amazon.com and EarPlugStore.com had good experiences with EarPlanes, saying they either reduce or eliminate ear pain during travel.
For a few, EarPlanes were ineffective, and some said they had better success with regular foam earplugs. EarPlanes have a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 20 decibels (dB) and will reduce some noise, but most users say the reduction is minimal.
Uncomfortable, but better than ear pain. Many reviewers say that Cirrus EarPlanes are uncomfortable to wear. However, EarPlanes only need to be worn on the ascent and descent. As a result, many reviewers were willing to experience brief periods of discomfort rather than the ear and head pain they typically experience when flying without EarPlanes.
Good for one to two uses. Cirrus EarPlanes are available for *Est. $5 for 1 pair, but each pair of earplugs is good only for two flights. At least one reviewer says they don't work as well on the second flight, and he always carries a fresh pair. Cirrus recommends you dispose of them as directed because the filter that helps to regulate the air pressure becomes clogged over time, thereby reducing effectiveness.
Review Credibility: Very Good Amazon.com customers give Cirrus EarPlanes an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, in about 30 reviews. While some users note that the earplugs are uncomfortable and moderately expensive, given that they're disposable, very few will stop using Cirrus EarPlanes because of the relief from ear and head pain they provide. Some parents have success using these in their children's ears to prevent ear pain on flights.
Review: Earplanes Pain Reliever Earplugs Adult Size (3 Pair), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good In about 20 reviews, Cirrus EarPlanes earn an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Users say they're highly effective in preventing ear pain due to altitude changes. At least one reviewer notes that these are recommended by his doctor. A few say they are uncomfortable and don't block noise well, but they are good at what they are made to do.
Review: EarPlanes Earplugs, Flight Ear Protection, Contributors to Drugstore.com, As of May 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good EarPlugStore.com is an online retailer dedicated solely to earplugs and hearing protection. There are fewer user reviews here than on Amazon.com, but the users are knowledgeable about earplugs and have often tried multiple types. There are a handful of reviews for Cirrus Earplanes on EarPlugStore.com, and all are glowing. Users say they had no pain with flying and could hear well on landing. One user suggests trying the child size if the adult ones don't work, as it may give you a better fit.
Review: Cirrus EarPlanes Ear Plugs for Flying (NRR 20), Contributors to EarPlugStore.com, As of May 2013
Review Credibility: Good "Karissa," a flight attendant who blogs about a variety of topics, acknowledges that she was given EarPlanes for this review, but she says it did not affect her opinion of the product. She rates EarPlanes highly for preventing ear problems, although she says she uses them only in certain circumstances. She also recommends them frequently for travelers who ask her how to prevent ear pain in their children. She implies that they are not particularly comfortable, but she wears them only for about 30 minutes at a time.
Review: Sinus Pressure When Flying SOLVED, "Karissa", Feb. 17, 2013
5. USA Today
Review Credibility: Fair Joe Fletcher examines existing reviews from various sources, including the EarPlugStore.com, and he details the three most commonly recommended for flying: Cirrus EarPlanes, FliteMate Earplugs and Alpine FlyFit. Unlike other earplug reviews, emphasis is placed on regulation of airflow, as the main purpose of these earplugs is to help regulate air pressure. Fletcher likes the design of the EarPlanes and that they use a filter, CeramX, to alter the flow of air and prevent a buildup of pressure.
Review: The Best Ear Plugs for Flying, Joe Fletcher, Not dated