Aug 5, 2019
A friend back home who also suffers from migraines recommended a product called WeatherX earplugs. They are earplugs with special technology to help your ears adjust to pressure changes. There is also a free app you can use to get alerts about upcoming pressure changes.
If you suspect that you have ear issues or headaches from weather changes, there's a Japanese version of these. Rather than my friend buying them (from Amazon for about $12 US) and shipping them here or paying international shipping, I looked for them on the Japanese Amazon site. The product I found is very similar with only different colors and packaging. It's called Weather Relief X. There is even an app in Japanese, 頭痛ーる (which is, as expected, way cuter than the English version).
I've been noticing I can predict rainy days by my headaches these days, and with all the rainy days in Kyushu, especially during the rainy season, these seemed worth the almost 2,000 yen to try out. Before a typhoon passed by, I had a super nasty migraine that I had to take a day off because of. If these earplugs help avoid more of that, I'm in. Technically before typhoon season even starts, I'm using them a little every day.
Anytime I feel some pressure in my ears, my ears popping, or even sensitivity to sound (blasted cicadas at six am every day), I pop the squishy earplugs in. They come with a tiny case so you can bring them everywhere. I've been wearing them for around an hour or so at a time so I haven't had any ear soreness, but if I left them in overnight it might hurt a little.
I had a bit of success with them on a recent bus tour through mountain areas. Despite ups and downs and unexpected sudden rain, I had only brief mild headaches. They are designed for changes in air pressure, but the company in the US, WeatherX, also has a travel version to help with larger altitude changes on airplanes.
The cute app (Zutsu-ru) is only in Japanese, but not so difficult to understand. There's a profile where you can keep track of your symptoms and their severity, which is really useful. You'll also have a map of Japan with potential pressure issues and a weather hour by hour chart showing upcoming changes. Before those changes come, the point is to use the earplugs, so your ears can adjust more gradually.
I like the features this app has way better than the WeatherX app, which I used a little before these earplugs arrived. I didn't understand the differences in how air pressure is measured in the US vs. in Japan, so the Japanese version is easier to understand. It also doesn't need to use my location like the US app; you just enter in your city.
I'm still testing these out as there haven't been any typhoons or big pressure changes since I got them. So far I think they have helped to relieve some of the pain and cut off potential migraines.