From my first flight at age 6, we learned that I have incredible pain in my ears during flights. The kind of pain that makes you never want to get on a flight again, a devastating thought! My eternal gratitude goes out to the woman at the airport who suggested we try EarPlanes, as 6 year old me is begging mom to take a boat back home instead of flying. They are little silicone earplugs that have a hollow center and small plastic ball that takes the pressure of the plane ascending and descending rather than pushing on your ears. For a short flight or on a little puddle jumper, those babies stay in the whole time. If its is a longer flight, they will go in before the door closes until we reach altitude, then put them back in as we descend. Have been using them for 2 decades and they have saved me!
Really only good for a few flights because they get dusty from the air which reduces their effectiveness, so I always throw a few extra in my carry on incase I don't go directly home for some reason. They can be hard to find sometimes, especially overseas. Useful for folks with serious pain when sometimes nothing else has worked, as well as for those who only have some discomfort when descending. Comes in two sizes, for adults and children. They are completely drug free, so have zero side effects. Magical.