Have you ever taken an aeroplane flight? You sit down and the plane gets ready to take off.
While you are ascending into the air, all of a sudden, your ear feels as if it is clogged and there is a sense of pressure between your eyes.
Well, this happens to many people when they are in an environment where the air pressure changes suddenly and they cannot pop their ears.
Discomfort in the ear is something that we all have experienced. However, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out how to pop your ears.
How Safe Is It To Pop Your Ears?
Doing this is not a dangerous practice at all. It is considered relatively safe.
For most of us, we can simply move the muscles in our mouth and we find relief. For others, they need a little bit more help. No matter which way you choose, take your time and do so with care.
If nothing works, you should consult a doctor.
If medication is prescribed to help, try not to use them for a prolonged period. The same if you are using over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Ensure that your doctor does a thorough check and can diagnose what the problem is exactly.
There are a number of reasons, why you might want to pop your ears. These include:
- To get rid of fluids buildup
- To get rid of the water in your ears after taking a swim
- To hear better
- To relieve pressure, such as sinus pressure
- To alleviate air pressure after flying at high altitudes
How Does Ear Popping Work?
Air gets to the middle ear via the Eustachian tube. This is how you get to regulate the amount of pressure in the left and right compartments of the eardrums.
Once there is a difference in the pressure on either side, you will note that the eardrum either bulges outward or inward. So, you will experience some sort of puffiness in your ear.
When you pop your ears, this helps to create back a balance and that sensation goes. Your eardrum moves back to its correct position and you no longer have that discomfort.
The Eustachian tube normally opens without human intervention at the time that you yawn, blow your nose or swallow.
Sometimes, you will even hear a popping sound. This happens because the Eustachian tube allows the ear to get through your middle ear.
There are a number of things that can cause the tubes not to open up easily. This includes earwax, mucus, and fluid buildup.
How Can You Pop Your Ears?
Fortunately, there are a number of techniques, which you can try. They differ in their approach to help you alleviate the symptoms of an un-popped ear. Continue reading the list below:
1. Try to Swallow or Chew Gum
This is where the Eustachian tube comes into play, while you are swallowing. The muscles in your mouth try to open the tube, which is in turn connected to the middle ear at the rear of your nose. You will achieve the same response when you suck on candy or chew gum.
2. Try to Yawn
There is no doubt that yawning illicit the same effect as well. While it may be easy to yawn on cue, for some of us, we might have to fake it. All you have to do is open your mouth wide and then simulate a yawn by breathing in and out. Try repeating the action for a few minutes until your ears pop.
3. Try the Valsalva Maneuver
The Valsalva Maneuver is a technique that involves using your fingers to pinch your nose. While doing this, keep your cheeks relaxed. Do not puff them out. Inhale some air and then through your nose, expel it gently. You will feel a gentle pressure at the back of your nose. In response, the Eustachian tube should open.
4. Try the Toynbee Maneuver
For this procedure, you are going to hold your nostrils closed with your fingers and swallow at the same time. The Toynbee maneuver can easily give you the same results as the Valsalva Maneuver. However, still, not all persons might have the same results. So to alleviate your situation properly, try to use the best technique or try them both.
5. Use a Warm Washcloth
This involves the application of a warm washcloth. You will hold this to your ear and it should minimize and ultimately get rid of the pressure that you feel in your ears. If you wish, you can also employ the use of a heating pad as well.
Typically, for most people, this method helps the Eustachian tube to open right up. It is the ideal way to learn how to pop your ears, especially if you are dealing with allergies or suffering from the flu or a cold.
6. Try Nasal Decongestants
Alleviating your nasal passageways is another way in which you can help to alleviate the pressure in your ears. Some people do so by using an OTC nasal decongestant.
If you choose this method, please ensure that you adhere to the guidelines with vigilance. Also, combine a number of other techniques, including the Toynbee maneuver and the Valsalva Maneuver.
7. Use Nasal Corticosteroids
OTC nasal steroids are another way that you can pop your ears. Nasal steroids may perhaps lend a hand in unblocking your ears by minimizing the inflammation levels that you are experiencing in your nasal passages.
Once that is accomplished then you will feel a freer movement of the air going through the Eustachian tube and your ear pressure will normalize. So, talk to your doctor and inquire about any of the numbers of Nasal Corticosteroids, which you can try.
8. Ask Your Doctor About Ventilation Tubes
This is the most invasive and extreme technique. But, it is usually the last recourse for medical professionals. The ventilation tubes are especially useful in getting rid of pain due to this condition and alleviating the pressure.
Before inserting the tubes, they will give you a local anesthesia. Then the tubes will be inserted. They are also called pressure-equalizing (PE) tubes. These are used often to get rid of any fluid buildup in one or both of your ears also.
It should not take long to complete this procedure, approximately 15 minutes or less. And it is generally done in the doctor’s office. On some occasions, it can be performed in a hospital. Once inserted, they come out by themselves after a couple of years.
Don’t Wait to See a Doctor
If the problem with your ears persists for longer than two weeks, then you definitely need to visit your doctor. Even quicker, if you are having any great discomfort or pain as well. The sooner you get help, the quicker a solution can be found. They are able to properly assess the situation and give you a diagnosis. Some of the complaints could be due to:
- temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
- common cold
- earwax buildup
- sinus or ear infection
You don’t want your eardrum to burst because the issue has plagued you for a while. At all costs, you must avert a perforated eardrum. This may perhaps take place at some stage in a particular event that causes pressure to build very quickly. For example, it happens during scuba diving or air travel.
If this happens, get to a doctor ASAP, as soon as possible. And without delay! They will need to help you mend over some period of time. The worst case requires surgery. At other times, they might employ the use of an eardrum patch.
Ear Care is Important
We only have two sets of ears and it is important that we take care of them.
They are home to some very important organs. What makes it difficult to address some of these issues, is that it is within our head, so great care must be taken to treat any issues that are plaguing you.
This is why it is very important to seek treatment at the early stages of any ear problems.
We hope that you find all these 8 ways how to pop your ears, very useful, the next time pressure, mucus or earwax causes you any discomfort.