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Do Headphones Help with Airplane Pressure? Ultimate Guide

A common complaint among frequent air travelers is having to put up with the change in cabin pressure. During flight, changes in altitude affect air pressure inside the cabin, leading to discomfort and ear pain. Sometimes, the discomfort or pain can linger even after the flight, causing emotional distress in travelers. 

Do headphones help with airplane pressure? The answer is a resounding yes. Reading further, you will uncover the truth about how headphones can mitigate the effects of airplane pressure. Additionally, this guide will highlight the best headphones available in 2024 for alleviating discomfort while flying. Stay tuned to learn how to make your flights more comfortable and enjoyable.


What Causes Airplane Pressure While Flying?

Airplane pressure is the main culprit behind ear discomfort and pain during flights. Here are the causes of airplane pressure:

1. Altitude Changes

As an airplane ascends or descends, the external air pressure changes rapidly. This swift change affects the pressure in the cabin, causing a pressure difference in your ears. Your body struggles to equalize this pressure, leading to the familiar ear-popping sensation.

2. Cabin Pressurization Systems

Modern airplanes use pressurization systems to maintain a stable cabin environment. Despite these systems, the pressure inside the cabin is still lower than at sea level. This discrepancy can cause discomfort as your body adjusts to the lower pressure.

3. Humidity Levels

Airplanes have significantly lower humidity levels than on the ground. Dry air can cause nasal passages to dry out and swell, exacerbating pressure-related discomfort. This dryness can make it harder for your ears to adjust to pressure changes, leading to pain.

Why Is It Important to Cover Your Ears When Flying?

Covering your ears during a flight isn't just about comfort—it's essential for protecting your health. Here are the top reasons why you should always protect your ears while flying:

1. Prevent Ear Pain

Rapid changes in air pressure can cause significant ear pain, often referred to as "airplane ear." Covering your ears helps to equalize the pressure, reducing discomfort. This simple action can make a big difference in your overall flying experience.

2. Protect Hearing

Airplane cabins can be quite noisy, with engines and air circulation systems contributing to high decibel levels. Prolonged exposure to loud noise can damage your hearing over time. Using ear protection helps mitigate this risk, preserving your hearing health.

3. Improve Comfort

Covering your ears can help block out ambient noise, making your flight more pleasant. This can improve your ability to relax, sleep, or concentrate on work or entertainment. Comfort is key to a better travel experience, especially on long-haul flights.

Can Headphones Help with Airplane Pressure?

Headphones can surely alleviate the discomfort of airplane pressure. Let's explore how these devices can make your flights more comfortable.

1. Pressure Regulation

Certain travel headphones are designed with features that help regulate ear pressure. These headphones create a seal around the ear, which can assist in equalizing the pressure inside and outside the ear canal. This can significantly reduce the sensation of ear popping and discomfort. 

2. Noise Reduction

Noise-canceling headphones can effectively block out the constant hum of airplane engines. By reducing the ambient noise, these headphones help minimize stress and fatigue caused by prolonged exposure to loud sounds. This can contribute to a more comfortable and restful flight.

3. Enhanced Comfort

Many headphones offer a snug and comfortable fit, which can provide a cushioning effect. This physical barrier helps protect the ears from abrupt pressure changes during takeoff and landing. Comfortable headphones can also enhance your overall travel experience by making it easier to relax or sleep.

Best Headphones for Airplane Pressure 2024

Now that you know headphones can help with airplane pressure, you shouldn’t miss out on the following top headphone choices for 2024 that will make your flights more enjoyable and comfortable.

soundcore Space Q45



The soundcore Space Q45 headphones come with an advanced noise-canceling system that cuts down noise by up to 98%, enabling you to enjoy a serene listening experience even amidst the hustle and bustle of an airplane. With an ultra-long 50-hour playtime, these headphones are perfect for long-haul travel, ensuring you have uninterrupted sound with exceptional detail throughout your journey. The Space Q45 headphones are also designed to fit snugly around your ears, making them ideal for long listening sessions. Additionally, they are TCO Certified, emphasizing soundcore’s commitment to better sustainability.

soundcore Space One



The soundcore Space One headphones offer twice the voice reduction compared to soundcore’s other products, reducing noise by up to 98% with their advanced adaptive noise cancelling technology. Featuring crisp, Hi-Res sound through 40mm dynamic drivers, these headphones ensure an immersive audio experience. With a worry-free battery life of 40 hours with ANC on and 55 hours with ANC off, they are perfect for extended use.

In terms of comfort, the soundcore Space One excels too. The Space One headphones have 8° rotating ear cups and a soft integrated headband to ensure all-day comfort. Furthermore, they also offer five levels of adjustable transparency, allowing you to tune your surroundings to your preference. Lastly, these headphones that help with airplane pressure are TCO Certified, highlighting their dedication to better sustainability.


Do noise cancelling headphones help with airplane pressure?

Noise cancelling headphones primarily reduce ambient noise, which can enhance comfort and reduce stress during a flight. While they don't directly affect air pressure in the ears, their sealing effect can help maintain a more stable pressure environment around the ear, potentially alleviating some discomfort and offering some level of ear protection for airplane pressure.

How to protect ears when flying?

Here are the methods on how to protect ears when flying:

  1. Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to reduce ambient noise.
  2. Chew gum, swallow, or yawn during ascent and descent to help equalize ear pressure.
  3. Use the Valsalva maneuver: gently blow with your nose pinched and mouth closed to equalize pressure.


Being a traveler many times and seeing the agony of some passengers onboard, you must have contemplated, ‘Do headphones help with airplane pressure?’. It turns out the answer is a firm yes. While headphones can’t alter the air pressure within the cabin, they do go a long way in alleviating the discomfort caused by pressure change during ascent or descent. In addition, their ANC feature helps filter out the ambient noise, guaranteeing you the sense of serenity that all frequent travelers hold dear. So next time you travel by plane, don’t forget to bring your headphones!

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