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Airdrate - Rehydrating Ear Plugs to alleviate in flight ear pain

The Problem

34% of adults suffer and 64% of children aircraft passengers on commercial flights suffer inflight ear pain which they have dubbed ‘Airplane Ear’.

Scientific research commissioned by our subsidiary company Aerbuddies Ltd in 2010 showed that a major cause of discomfort is due to the very low humidity of the cabin air that dehydrates the eardrum during flight. Our research showed that this significantly reduces the eardrum’s flexibility and its natural ability to cope with the pressure changes that occur during flight.


Between 2012 and 2023, we have proven this to be the major cause of inflight ear pain and to be the cause of the discomfort and partial deafness experienced by some passengers for days after the flight. 

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, IATA forecast that 4.6 Billion passenger will return to the skies and fly in 2024. 
Source: IATA S&E Economics, Tourism Economics

The Solution

UK Technical Applications team designed and developed a solution by rehydrating the eardrum with an innovative earplug. 

Through extensive research, product development, trials and market research, UK Technical Applications have taken this Class 1 Medical Device from concept to creation, ensuring that the product was developed into the registered Trade Mark brand AirDrate and which was then awarded Design Council Spark accelerator program finalist 2015.

Spark Finalists

The Journey - April 2023
Following the incorporation of Airdrate Ltd, ahead of the brand validation program, the proof of concept trials have now been successfully completed. The industrial design phase has also now been completed that incorporated design changes to the packaging that have extend the storage shelf life and introduce features specifically required to meet the high and low volume mass production manufacturing processes. 


2019 saw the completion of the product development cycle, concluded by a successful Short Haul Flight Test programme, Long Haul Flight, product durability and shelf life testing. The flight testing has produced fantastic results used in the Clinical Evaluation! and we have received some very pleasing testimonials with repeat demand for the product from trial participants!


The AirDrate brand and product has been successfully registered in readiness for the full product launch.

The supply chain has now been secured and a low volume production 'Clinically Clean' assembly room has been set up in Newbury UK to ISO 9001 quality control standards, in readiness for registration with the UK Government Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and CE compliance audit.

We have worked with our project partners and the design of scalable manufacturing high production flow solutions has been completed for the AirDrate brand that can produce the 32,000 return journey packs per day calculated as being required to meet the potential production demand of the current supported marketing data. 

The Journey - November 2023

The project has been awarded support from the Innovate UK Edge, UK Department for Business & Trade, programmes and the UK Intellectual Property Office.

We are also very proud to announce that we have concluded our new research article 'Practical Use of Rehydrating Earplugs'. The article culminates 10 years of our research and development work into
Otic Barotrauma and will be published during the UK product launch. Working closely with our Innovate UK Edge Programme manager, the AirDrate project was awarded a grant that has supported the protection of the intellectual property gained from our research and development activity.

In preparation for global expansion post the UK launch we are also delighted to have also gained support from the UK Department for Business & Trade, USA Department of Commerce and Select USA programmes.

The Journey - December 2023
UK Product Launch - AirDrate Rehydrate Earplugs Now Available!

The AirDrate brand trademark territories have been expanded and MHRA Registration completed.


The 'AirDrate Rehydrating Ear Plugs' are new convenient patented, easy to use, hygienic, inexpensive, disposable ear plugs that alleviate inflight Ear Pain, creating flights passengers want to remember, for all the right reasons. Supplied in a pack of 4 ear plugs, the launch product 'Airdrate Rehydrating Ear Plugs Return Journey Pack' is now available for purchase online only initially at

Press Statement - January 2024

Manging Director of UKTA and CEO of AirDrate, Paul Bradley said "We are delighted to have completed our research into Otic Barotrauma and also completed the Creation, Innovation and commenced the UK launch of the AirDrate Brand and Rehydrating Earplugs. The product uses the scientific discoveries made, detailed in our research article scheduled for publication later this year. The article further discusses the results of the Clinical Testing carried out by our loyal focus group".


Aeronautical Engineer and Innovation specialist Paul Bradley added "I am looking forward to seeing the AirDrate Brand grow and to being able to help some of the 1.5 Billion passengers forecasted to suffer from Airplane Ear Inflight Ear Pain during 2024. Demand from sufferers in the USA to access the new all British technology is strong so we will now proceed to obtain FDA Registration, where we anticipate to be able to commence trading in the USA no later than Q4 of 2024".

A future product range using the patented AirDrate technology that is currently under development is scheduled for entry into the market between 2024 and 2026.

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