Home EarHow to Pop Ears How to Pop Your Ears and Relieve Ear Congestion after Flight

How to Pop Your Ears and Relieve Ear Congestion after Flight

by Dr. Joe Morales

If you have experienced ear pressure or ear congestion, you want to know how to pop your ears easily and fast. This will help you relieve clogged ears or pressure that results from pneumatic stress (like airplane ear). Change in pressure can cause your ears to pop or become stuffed due to the blocking of the Eustachian tube. Here are 10 best ways to pop your ears after a flight or when they are congested from swimming, scuba diving, cold, moving jaws, exercise and even for no reason.

Why do you want to pop ears quickly?

The reason for wanting to make your ears pop fast is to relieve pressure that accumulates after a fast drive, a long flight or after being underwater for some time. The back of your throat is connected to the center of ear via the Eustachian tubes. These tubes are used for emptying liquid your ears to help maintain the pressure inside the ear. Here are the reasons why people pop ears.

How to pop your ears to relieve ear congestion.

Is popping your ears bad? No, it can help you relieve ear congestion.

  • To relieve pressure, such as sinus pressure
  • To hear better
  • To release fluid or to get water out after swimming
  • After high altitude such as flight/skydiving – for most people, ears get congested after a flight and they realize it on landing.

Best way to pop your ears safely by holding the nose

One of the ways to fix congested ears is as follows:

  1. Close your mouth and then hold your nose tight not to allow air in or out.
  2. Bend your neck to the right side so that your chin almost touches your shoulder.
  3. In that position, swallow hard until you feel your left ear pop.
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 above but in the opposite direction in order to pop your right ear.

By holding your hose, you will pop ears and relieve pressure fast and in a more safe way. The following are 10 more ways to decongest ears without hurting.

1. Pop your ears at will or voluntarily by opening mouth

When you want to decongest pressure in your ears in a voluntary way or at will, the simplest way to do that is just open the mouth as if to pronounce the letter ‘O’. Here’s the procedure to do it.

  1. Open your mouth as if to yawn.
  2. Extend the opening so that you are in a wider position to say something like ‘aah’ but in a loud tone.
  3. Keep it that way and extend a little as if you want to fully yawn.
  4. When you hear the ears un-pop, the pressure balance will be restored.
  5. You should be able to hear clearly.

2. Yawning to pop ears after flight/flying

When you get off a plane, yawn. Yawning can also help restore the balance of pressure in your Eustachian tubes. In order to unpop ears after a flight or to get rid of clogged ears after a flying, follow the procedure below. Before that, Gizmodo says that Eustachian tubes are connected to the “tensor veli palatini muscles in your soft palate and are activated automatically whenever you yawn or swallow.” That is the reason you hear a pop sound when you yawn after a flight. The reason for this is that the pressure is equalizing in your inner ear.

Yawn to make ears pop. This is the best in babies with ear pressure

Yawn to make ears pop. This is the best in babies with ear pressure.

  1. Lean your head backward
  2. Allow your jaws to push forward and maintain this position.
  3. Face the sky without changing this position in order to place your inner ear in a good position to open up.
  4. Yawn to relieve pressure in your ear fast.

3. How to pop your ears by chewing gum or candy

Why does chewing gum help your ears pop? According to Wonderopolis, candy and chewing gum help prevent ears from being clogged as a result of a change in altitude when you fly on an airplane or when you go diving or swimming. Chewing gum unclogs you’re your ears in two ways:

  • It helps your jaws move, an act that makes the pressure relieve slowly and eventually unpops the ear.
  • When you chew gum, the motion will trigger the production of saliva in the mouth, which eventually encourages swallowing. As you will see below, swallowing will force the ears top pop.

Actually, for some people, stocking on some chewing gum when boarding a flight is one of the tips for preventing ears popping on a plane.

4. Ears popping when swallowing – get rid of clogged ears by swallowing

What if you want to know how to pop your ears without gum? Well, swallowing itself is an easy way to drain excess fluid in your ears and help normalize pressure in the ear. So, how does it work? The act of swallowing in itself will force the Eustachian tube in the middle of the ear to pop and balance the pressure.

Burping to open up the middle ear and relieve pressure is another way to do it, although it might be a little disgusting. Here are the steps.

  1. Tilt your head or lean backward.
  2. Ensure your jaw is slightly pointed towards to sky.
  3. Swallow hard to un-pop your ears.
  4. Do this a couple of times until you hear a popping noise inside the affected ear.

5. How to make your ears pop using decongestant

After landing, ear pressure equalizing techniques may fail and you might need to use an ear decongestant to unclog the inward popped ears. According to ENT Net, nasal sprays and decongestants work well when ears fail to pop or open, and also when the pain from the pressure remains constant.

Chewing gum can help make an ear pop

Chewing gum can help make an ear pop.

Before using any nasal spray and decongestant medication to relieve ear pressure after swimming or landing from a skydive or airplane, seek the help of a physician. An ENT will help you release the fluid or pressure buildup by making a tiny incision inside the eardrum.

Sprays and decongestant pills are often given an hour or two before landing or descent. This will help the membranes of your ears relax and pop easily.

6. How to pop your ears by blowing nose after swimming

You can blow your nose in a gentle way to pop your ears successfully even after swimming. This is considered a type of Valvasa maneuver and you will end up relieving a stuffy nose fast. In order to equalize pressure in your ears, do the following simple exercise as recommended by eMedicineHealth:

Blow your nose to open up blocked ears and sinus passages

Blow your nose to open up blocked ears and sinus passages.

  1. Close your mouth with moderate pressure.
  2. Pinch your nose to close it gently.
  3. Gently blow the nose to balance the pressure or get rid of the blocked ear.

When doing this, be gentle because too much pressure can cause the problem to worsen, and likely lead to ear pain.

7. Pop your ears using a finger after listening to loud music

Ringing ears and blocked ears are both symptoms of listening to loud music after a party or wearing headphones and generally the following signs:

  • Ear fullness
  • Constant pressure in ear
  • Muffled ears and reduced hearing ability
  • Ear ringing
  • Sometimes, pimple inside the ear

In order to reduce pressure in your ear painlessly, cover your ear with a finger and move it on and off in order to create repeating change in pressures. This can also be effective when there is water in your ear.

8. Drain fluid to pop ears after being underwater

There are many ways of draining ears, steaming is one of them. However, the best way to pop your ears of fluid retention is using gravity. Active Beat recommends using the simple and effective rules of gravity to remove water in the ear.

After being underwater and fluid remaining in your ear, you can try an upside-down posture to make the water move to the upper part of the ear and escape. You can also pop your ears fast by lying down on your side.

Try not to scoop the fluid from your ear as you will not only scratch the skin inside the ear and form scabs but also make the unpopped ear worse.

9. How to pop your ears using cups on a plane

How do you pop your ears if you are a cabin crew and you fly often? Well, apart from wearing earplugs to prevent clogged ears or pressure inside the ear, relief methods such as using cups can also help a lot. Here’s how to pop your ears using a cup.

  1. Get two plastic cups, one for each ear.
  2. A little warm water or boiling water and some towels will also be required.
  3. Dampen the two towels in boiling water.
  4. Place the towels inside the cups.
  5. Hold the cups with dampened towels over your ears for a few minutes.
  6. This will unblock the ears immediately.

How does this method work? The steam from the towels generates heat and creates a small pressure vacuum that unblocks the ears and helps ease the pain.

10. Use Valsalva maneuver to pop ears or ease ear blockage

What is Valsalva maneuver? As defined by Wikipedia, it is that a forceful attempt to exhale through a nose that is closed or simply a closed airway. This method unblocks clogged ears by applying a counter pressure in the Eustachian tubes or middle ear as you breathe out slowly. Here’s how to do it to relieve ear congestion:

  1. Close your mouth tightly
  2. Pinch to squeeze your nose
  3. Try to breathe forcefully through the nose.
  4. This will open up a blocked nose and normalize pressure in there.

Ear Popping Remedies and Ways to Relieve Congestion Naturally

If you are still unable to pop ears after all those exercises, you might want to try home remedies as well as natural ways. Wax removal, kitchen ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide are all said to help with relieving ear congestion. Here are some of those home remedies and natural treatments.

1. Use Neti Pot to pop ears from a sinus infection or pressure

Flushing nasal sinus infection or nasal congestion can help balance the pressure in your ear fast. One method is that commonly used is a neti-pot. Neti pots are usually filled with saline solutions and are said to be effective (though debatable) in curing and relieving nasal and ear congestion.

To use one, insert the neti pot’s spout in one nostril and then tilt your head to one side so that the saline solution can flow up your nose and leave through the other. Repeat this severally to pop your ears at home.

2. How to pop ears when sick with cold and allergies

Over the counter medications can for cold and allergies can also help relieve sinus pressure and ear pressure as well. Anti-histamines and nasal decongestants are highly recommended. However, do not overuse these even when sick in order to relieve ear pressure and sinus pain.

Treating the allergy will help get rid of constant unpopped ears. If you think you have allergies or are sick it is important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment rather than trying home remedies and natural cures to pop ears.

3. Ear wax removal using hydrogen peroxide to pop them

I do not recommend this one, but wax removal has been said to help pop ears and relieve pressure fast.  Hydrogen peroxide and glycerine are some of the home remedies for earwax removal. If the pressure is building up because of poor ventilation or an ear infection, hydrogen peroxide might be able to use.

Warning: Hydrogen peroxide can cause harm to your ears. Only use it under strict guidance and supervision of your doctor.

4. How to unpop your ears with newspaper

Another crazy home remedy is to use a burning newspaper to dry your ear out. Here’s a video that shows how to do that. This is said to help after jumping or exercise in the swimming pool.

5. Use an ear popper

Home remedy ear poppers can be recommended by a doctor for use at home. If your ear won’t pop after all these attempts, try a prescription ear popper to equalize pressure outside and inside your eardrum. This is likely to be a costly way of doing it, but it is likely to be very effective.

Sources and references

Leave a Comment


DeadPirate Sep 7, 2016 - 5:48 am

I don’t think holding your hose will help pop your ears.

europe eenis Apr 30, 2018 - 9:42 pm

thas BS, I cant pop my ears ithr

Jamie Oct 10, 2016 - 6:16 am

The cup trick worked like a charm!!!! Tried everything and this was our last resort before going to the doctor. Used the two cups or boiling water towels and it worked perfectly. Thank you so much!