Your ears are designed to regulate and equalize the pressure in your ear. But when you fly, scuba dive, hike a mountain or ride in an elevator, your ears sometimes have trouble adjusting to the change in air pressure around you.
That can lead to a feeling of clogged ears. You can pop your ears to help them clear up.
When you swallow, the eustachian tube — a structure in your ears that helps regulate pressure and stabilize middle ear fluid — opens up.
This equalizes the pressure inside and outside of your ear. It also drains any pressure or fluid that is stuck in your ears.
2. Chew Gum
Gum is an easy way to pop your ears safely. It works because chewing helps open the eustachian tube, which controls air pressure inside your ears.
Chewing gum can also help reduce bad bacteria in your mouth, which is key for oral health. Look for gum that has a seal of approval from the American Dental Association (ADA).
3. Pinch Your Nose
If your ears feel clogged, it could be caused by an imbalance of pressure between the air inside your ear and the air outside your ear. This difference can happen during rapid changes in altitude, such as driving up a mountain or flying on an airplane.
Ear popping helps neutralize this pressure and relieve the discomfort. Here are 10 easy ways to do it safely.
4. Blowing a Balloon
Blowing a balloon is an easy way to pop your ears, but it can be dangerous. It can force air into your Eustachian tube and can cause you pain or dizziness if you blow too hard.
A hand pump is a safer option for anyone who needs to inflate large balloons. It can also be a useful tool for those who have a latex allergy.
5. Flexing Your Jaw
If you’re prone to jaw clenching, flexing your jaw can help release pressure in your ears. This opens the Eustachian tube, which regulates ear pressure and helps protect your eardrum from damage.
Often, clenching is caused by stress and anxiety, which can be managed by retraining the jaw muscles to relax. This requires mindful attention and reduction of triggers. It’s also a good idea to see your doctor if you have underlying issues with jaw muscle tightness or jaw joint pain.
6. Taking a Decongestant
If you’re feeling plugged ears, there are some easy ways to pop your ears safely. It doesn’t take much more than moving some facial muscles to equalize pressure in your eardrums.
Popping your ears can be helpful for many people. But it can be harder for those with medical conditions, like ear infections or allergies.
7. Taking a Nausea Pill
If you feel like your ears are clogged, popping them can be helpful. However, if you have severe ear pain or a ruptured eardrum, it is best to see a healthcare provider right away.
Most ear-popping techniques are safe, and they typically only require you to move your mouth muscles and forceful breathing. If you are uncomfortable with these methods, it may be time to talk to your doctor about prescription medication.
8. Stretching Your Mouth
If you’ve ever been on a flight or had a scuba dive, then you know that your ears may pop from time to time. This is because the air pressure around you changes as you go higher or lower.
When you yawn or swallow, your Eustachian tube opens to equalize the pressure in your ear. This can relieve the pain and pressure you feel in your ears.
9. Pushing Your Nose
A quick push of the nose may be the best way to equalize the pressure in your ears. By releasing air from your sinuses, you’ll be able to relieve that oh-so-satisfying sensation of having a blocked ear.
This exercise also helps train and strengthen the muscles on your side of the nose, preventing the dreaded sagging effect. Try it a few times per day and you should see the results in no time.
10. Taking a Nausea Pill
Your ears do a great job at controlling air pressure, thanks to a little piece of anatomy called the Eustachian tube.
But sometimes, that little piece of anatomy can’t do a good job equalizing pressure. This can cause your ears to feel clogged.
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