Can I travel with Meniere's disease?

One of the most common questions I get asked on a regular basis is: “Can I travel with Meniere’s Disease?”

I hear it almost every day. And I completely get why it’s such an important question to so many of you. Traveling is such a wonderful part of life and thought of losing it, on top of everything else we have to deal with, is devastating.

But fear not my fellow Meniere’s sufferers. Because today, I come bearing good news.

The answer is YES! You absolutely can travel with Meniere’s disease.

At least, the short answer is yes. There is nothing inherently triggering about air travel that should cause your symptoms to flare up more than anything else.

The long answer is a little bit more involved.

In most cases, the fear of flying with Meniere’s disease generally stems from a specific worry about flying, like having your ears pop, or a generalized fear of having a vertigo attack on the plane.

I created this video to not only address these concerns, but to shed light on some of the most common misconceptions about traveling with Meniere’s disease, and to offer strategies for dealing with some of the more stressful aspects of flying.

Links and Additional Resources:

Earplane Earplugs: These earplugs have a special filter that prevents your ears from popping by slowing down the rate at which your ears experience a change in cabin pressure.

Strategies, Tips, and Tricks for a Low-Sodium Lifestyle: Another video I created to share some of my strategies for eating a low-sodium diet. Part of the video covers my strategies for eating low-sodium while on vacation. The travel tips start at 9:05 in to the video.

Lessons from a European Honeymoon with Meniere’s disease: Last November, I traveled to Europe for my honeymoon for two full weeks! I had a blast and learned a lot about traveling long distances with Meniere’s disease. I cover many of the specific tactics I used to make sure I had a great time!

  1. I have hd Menieres for 20 years and have ben to Italy, England, and France. I only had trouble once-after we had landed in Paris and caught train to Fontenbleu. Happened right before our stop. Went straight to where w were staying and took meds.
    I am from Texas so it was not in country travel.

    • That’s great! The only problem I had was when I first landed in Barcelona, I had no idea that the sparkling mineral water had so much sodium. Some brands have as much as a 1000mg/liter! It triggered me pretty bad that first day but once I realized what had happened, it didn’t happen again.

  2. I disagree about flying not causing problems. I am very sensitive to changes in barometric pressure – it triggers my Meneire’s symptoms. Cabin pressure inside a plane changes quite a bit during the entire flight process, even though the cabin is “pressurized.”

    • You are right that the pressure changes during flight. But the pressurization does reduce the changes quite a bit. You’re point is well taken.

      Have you tried the earplane earplugs I mentioned in the video? They filter the changes in pressure so you experience it much more gradually, so gradually that your middle ears won’t “pop.”

  3. We agree with Peggy-it’s different for everyone-especially those with co-morbid conditions. Pressure change does affect each person on various levels. So giving out advice as “one solution fits all” is irresponsible now without considering each individual situation. Those who research internet articles from someone other than an expert or with a combination of circumstances would think flight is alright. When this is NOT the case for most people having progressive conditions and/or disorders that would be made much worse by attempting. Take advice of professionals who involve much more than simply a low sodium diet to avoid exacerbation or triggers such as virus’ contracted during flights-and the mere stress of traveling through these busy airports.

    • Pressurization inside the plane does not take away all of the pressure changes. All it takes is looking at your water bottle before and after the flight to see that! Completely flattened water bottle afterward. Now imagine how that impacts your ears. EarPlanes help with the popping, but as you mentioned, that’s for middle ear problems, not inner ear that MD affects. So, EarPlanes aren’t going to do anything for someone that is triggered by pressure changes and MD.

  4. Glen, I agree with Peggy here. Airplanes are pressurized to maintain a cabin pressure equivalent to that found at 10,000 feet of altitude. I know that because I used to work with the systems on airplanes that maintain the cabin pressure. That aside one of my triggers is barometric pressure, anytime there is a low pressure system coming across the area where I live I have a bad day. But my very worse episode of Vertigo and the drunkenness associated with it happened the night after that one flight and then again after I flew back. Right now I am very skeptical about flying, my doctor said to try flying again to test my theory, and I guess I will eventually will, but I will need to cushion the trip adding a day or two after each flight to recover from the effects. I don’t know if it is a sound plan or not, I was just diagnose with this so I am still identifying triggers in my life.

  5. The last few times I have flown it has been painful in the days following a flight. I may try the earplanes if I attempt to travel again. I just got back from Boston last night and am miserable today.

  6. I was wondering if any of you have experience flying with the Menieres variation called, Lermoyez.
    My mom has the disease but she is so far never been affected by weather pressure changes or elevators, execpt when she has a bad day, then she needs to evade elevators.

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