We’ve all been there: the plane just landed and you can’t pop your ears. It’s maddening! You’ve got that stuffed-ear discomfort; you might even start feeling dizzy. So how do you pop your ears after a flight?
First of all, it’s important to know what you’re trying to do. The reason you’ve got that fuzzy-ear feeling is that the eustachian tubes – the tubes that keep your ear pressure in check – are stuck closed and you need to open them.
Think of your eustachian tubes as little air ducts going from your inner ear to the back of your throat. It’s easy for them to get closed, but you usually don’t even notice because you’re on the ground. It’s not until the air pressure changes around you that it affects your hearing.
Tip #1: Open your mouth
It doesn’t matter if you just open wide and jut out your jaw or if you force out a yawn, the stretching action often pops open those eustachian tubes. The goal here is to stretch out the back of the throat and force open those little guys. Even if you’re sitting on the couch at home, if you force a yawn you’ll probably feel your ears “pop” just a tiny bit.
Tip #2: Suck candy
Travel with a lollipop or hard candy and suck away. Just like stretching the back of the throat, the physical act of sucking can cause eustachian tubes to open. This is why parenting magazines often suggest giving babies a bottle or breastfeeding right before a flight descends. Babies can’t yet control their yawning, but they can suck on a bottle to release the pressure in their ears.
Tip #3: Use a diving tip
This one comes from the world of diving, where divers regularly have to deal with regulating air pressure in the middle ear. Your mother may have told you not to do this little trick, but it’s a bona fide diving technique called the Valsalva Maneuver. First, pinch your nose closed. Then close your mouth and blow. Blow hard enough to push air up through the eustachian tubes to “pop” them open. Just don’t do this more than necessary because it can slightly raise blood pressure when it’s performed.
Tip #4: Take cold medicine
Cold or allergy medicine will shrink the membranes around the eustachian tubes and prevent them from swelling or clogging with mucous. If you have even a hint of sinus problems, take cold or allergy medicine about half an hour before landing to prevent that stuffy ear feeling. The air pressure change will still cause your ears to pop, but the tubes will be less likely to stay closed.
Tip #5: Don’t be afraid
This might not seem like it’s a tip, but it is. Dr. Edmond Kay, a middle ear pressurization expert and faculty member at the University of Washington, has written about something he calls “Ear Fear.” Ear Fear is when people have anxiety about “popping” their ears and are afraid to do it. Or they’re so tentative, they can’t release the pressure in their ears. This fear can actually end up damaging to the ear drum if pressure isn’t equalized, so go ahead and pop them!
Regulating the air pressure in the middle ear is very important. Without proper middle ear pressurization, the ear drum can be damaged.
Damage is more of a threat in diving than in flying, but the principle is the same: don’t be afraid to pop your ears. You’re doing your middle ear a favor and protecting your ear drum. Try these tips next time your ears are clogged and see if they work for you.
Why havent my ears popped after flying?
Your goal is to move the muscles in your mouth to open the airway. Doing so by yawning or swallowing can help relieve tension in your throat and open your mouth wide. While blowing your nose, gently depress both your nostrils and keep your mouth closed. This will help keep the pressure between your ears and cabin pressure.
How long does Airplane ear last?
If barotrauma is caused by respiratory infections or allergies, it can usually be resolved by surgery. Severe cases can require up to a year of recovery. A clogged ear is temporary, and many people can successfully treat it with home remedies. However, if it remains blocked after trying various home remedies, consult a doctor.
Is it bad to plug your nose and pop your ears?
This technique works by blowing against the pressure, which will cause your Eustachian tubes to open. It’s a common mistake that people make. Sudden sharp ear pain that suddenly disappears. A decrease in ear pain may be accompanied by a drop in ear noise. Also, drainage from the ear that is bloody, clear, or has pus appears.
Does ear pressure go away?
Although most people may feel an uncomfortable pressure in their ear, this can sometimes worsen. If this condition worsens, it should usually go away within the next couple of days. You can open the blocked tubes by doing a simple exercise. This can involve closing your mouth and gently blowing your nose.
Can popping your ears cause damage?
Although popping your ears is not good for you, it’s also not bad for them. They should also open naturally. Airplane ear is a rare but serious illness that can cause severe pressure in the ears. This condition can usually be treated quickly.
How do you open a blocked ear?
Unfortunately, ear pain and pressure can lead to severe hearing loss. It is best to take precautionary measures to avoid this condition. While most people can tolerate the ear pain and pressure caused by air travel, there are some individuals who can experience severe pain and hearing loss.
Can you pop your ears by pulling on them?
Do it gently, and don’t sneeze while doing it. You’ll be fine. A ruptured eardrum usually heals on its own in about two weeks. In some cases, it takes months.