EarPlanes were developed by Cirrus Healthcare Products in conjunction with the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles, and have been tested by U.S. Navy aviators at the Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego. The US Food and Drug Administration designated EarPlanes as a "Class 1" medical device, and as such, they may be purchased over the counter without a prescription.
Ear discomfort on flights is caused by blockage and/or swelling of a passenger's Eustachian tubes. The air pressure changes prompted by the plane's descent are too rapid for the tubes to adjust properly. However, EarPlanes, provide an equal but opposite impedance on the exterior of the middle ear, allowing relief. Discomfort is reduced because the air pressure difference on the exterior and interior of the middle ear is lessened allowing the Eustachian tubes to function more normally.
Cirrus Healthcare also offers Children's EarPlanes, which are recommended for ages 1-11. Designed for smaller ears, Children's EarPlanes provide the same relief as adult-sized EarPlanes and are pediatrician recommended.
Adult sized EarPlanes and Children's EarPlanes are disposable.