9 Ways to Pop Your Ears on a Plane…And Why They Pop

by Zoe

For many frequent business travelers and points/miles enthusiasts, this is not a problem as our body’s naturally learn to adjust to the constantly changing pressure as we ascend and descend inside that flying metal tube. However, less often travelers and points/miles hobbyists with colds and allergies may find the advice below helpful. Thanks to our friends at CNT, here are 9 ways to pop your ears on a plane and an explanation as to why they pop.

The Eustachian tube connecting the back of your nose to the middle ear accounts for most ear popping issues. Your body wants to maintain balance with the constantly changing pressure around you and to do this the Eustachian tube needs to pen and close or you’ll feel pain.  Colds and allergies cause your tube to become clogged and prevent the natural adjustments, causing pain or worse case a rupture.

CNT includes 9 ways to pop your ears.  We are able to include the top 3 below, but click here to see all 9 recommendations!

1. Yawn or talk to open the mouth and activate the Eustachian tube.

Yawning or even talking can work well for mild discomfort. Even a fake yawn, where you simply mimic the wide stretching of a the mouth, can do the trick. Repeat every few minutes until you feel your ears pop and there’s relief from the pressure.


2. Chew gum, swallow liquid, or suck on candy to change the pressure in your throat.

These approaches, recommended by moms everywhere with fussy babies, really do work. “Swallowing activates the muscles that open the Eustachian tube,” the American Academy of Otolaryngology says.


3. Use a long-acting nasal decongestant.

Use a long-acting nasal decongestant to offset any swelling that might be going on in your nose and interfering with your Eustachian tube. Doctors recommend 12-hour or 24-hour Sudafed, or Afrin nasal spray. If you’re using the nasal spray, give yourself a spray 30 minutes before takeoff, and again at 30 minutes from descent.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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