Traveling by plane, driving through high elevations, swimming and the common cold can cause Eustachian tubes to become blocked. The Eustachian tubes become obstructed because the pressure in the middle ear can not be equalized. This is an uncomfortable feeling and sounds are unclear and muffled. Here are a few tips to pop your ears and relieve the pressure.
- Skill level:
Take an allergy tablet or decongestant about an hour before the descent. Nasal sprays can also be used but discontinue use afterward since these can cause more congestion by overuse.
Swallow hard. Swallowing makes the muscle that opens the Eustachian tubes begin to work. It's a good idea to practice this technique if your traveling by plane just before your take-off and landing.
Chew gum. Any change in the altitude usually causes the Eustachian tubes to close. Be prepared and carry a pack of gum. The chewing action opens the tubes and relieves pressure.
Suck on a mint or hard candy. Let a mint dissolve slowly in your mouth. The repeated swallowing will help pop your ears.
Yawn wide. Don't fall asleep unless you've had a decongestant. Your ears won't pop automatically. When you awake you'll feel like your head has been inside a pressure cooker. Yawning helps to stretch the tubes and open them up.
Pop your ears by first pinching your nostrils closed. Then, take a deep breath and hold it as you close your mouth. Finally, with your cheek and throat muscles forcefully press the air into the back of your nose. Repeat this as needed until you hear a pop sound or feel relieved.
Seek help from a doctor if the pressure won't go away. If all of these steps have been tried and your Eustachian tubes are still blocked a doctor can make a small incision in the ear drum to pop your ears for you.