How to Fly With Meniere's Disease

Idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops, or Meniere's disease, is a disorder of the inner ear. It affects each person differently, but generally its symptoms include vertigo, hearing loss, ringing in the ears (also called tinnitus), and a feeling of fullness in the ear.

Some people with Meniere's disease may be reluctant to travel by aeroplane, fearing that the atmospheric changes and resulting pressure in their ears may worsen their symptoms. However, with guidance from their physician, people with Meniere's disease can fly safely.

Understand and Control Your Disease Keep track of which symptoms you experience regularly, as well as which symptoms are most troublesome for you. That will help you better communicate with your physician about your disease. Everyone with Meniere's disease experiences this condition differently. For some people, certain symptoms may be more bothersome than others.

If your physician suggests treatment for your Meniere's disease, be sure to follow his or her recommendations. Because Meniere's disease is episodic, which means that symptoms can come and go, you may be tempted to stop treatment when your symptoms are not bothersome. However, continuing to control your disease daily is the best way to ensure that you can fly comfortably. If you do not feel that your physician is doing enough to help you control your Meniere's disease, you can consider seeking a second opinion from a different doctor.

Speak With Your Doctor

Schedule an appointment with your physician before your flight. While there is no research that suggests that people with Meniere's disease should not fly, nor is there any evidence that flying increases the symptoms of Meniere's disease, it is important to speak with your doctor before your trip to discuss your concerns and to get his recommendation. Be sure to clearly communicate any symptoms that you are having, and ask for specific advice on how you should handle an episode of Meniere's disease while flying or away from home.

Enjoy Your Flight

Prepare yourself for success during the days before your flight by following basic advice for reducing the frequency of Meniere's disease episodes: avoid stress, get sufficient sleep, and eat a good diet, avoiding excess salt, caffeine and alcohol. Be sure to pack any medications that you need to take for your Meniere's disease in your carry-on bag.

After boarding your flight, you may wish to inform a flight attendant of your condition. Should you need assistance during the flight due to a Meniere's disease episode, he will be able to help you. Because the air pressure changes during a flight may cause nausea in people with Meniere's disease, be sure to have an airsickness bag nearby and be aware of the location of the rest rooms. If you have symptoms during the flight, adjust your seat so that you are lying as flat as possible. Focus on an unmoving object inside the cabin. Relax and, if you can, try to fall asleep. Often, people suffering from an episode of Meniere's disease feel better after waking.