In normal situations, both the ears have equally balanced air pressure. But there may be some situations when there is a change in air pressure.
Especially when you are traveling in an airplane or diving in a sea or driving up a mountain, you may have a feeling that your ears are like filled up and need to relax them.
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This filling of air pressure causes blockage of fluid flow in the ear resulting in excessive pain and itching. It is called ear clogging. This is the time when you need to pop your ears.
Clogged ears may muffle your hearing. It creates an annoying situation that is usually very uncomfortable. The medical term used for this uncomfortable situation is known as Ear barotrauma.
It happens when the air pressure of your eardrums is unbalanced. To make this balance again, the eustachian tube(which has a link from your middle ear and to the back of your throat) needs to be open up.
Now the question may arise -“is it safe to pop your ears”? The answer is, Yes. Popping your ears is completely safe. You need to be gentle and it requires a little more than moving muscles of your mouth.
Read the article carefully to know the answer to various questions like how to pop your clogged ears? How does ear-popping it work? What causes ear blockage? What happens during ear popping? How to pop ears? And many more.
Why Does My Ear Feel Clogged?
Ear clogging or ear blockage doesn’t always cause pain but the muffin sounds can be a real nuisance. It occurs due to the following reasons:
1. Eustachian Tube Blockage
A Eustachian tube blockage is the major cause of clogged ears. It is an auditory tube connecting the middle ear to the throat. It helps in the proper flow of mucus and fluid from the ear to the back of the throat.
Sometimes this flow stops in the middle ear that leads to ear blockage. It results in an ear infection like a common cold, influenza, etc.
The most widely recognized reason for a blocked eustachian tube is a stuffy nose, for example, from a head cold or sinus disease.
At the point when the nose is full or stopped up, it can keep the eustachian tubes from depleting or loading up with air appropriately.
A development of earwax is likewise a typical reason for a blocked eustachian tube. At the point when the eustachian tube is blocked, it keeps the air rise from moving into the center ear, in the end making a vacuum and pulling on the eardrum.
This can be awkward and can cause different issues in the ear, for example, hearing misfortune and dizziness.
- A Runny Nose
- A sore Throat
This blockage needs to be stopped since it can cause a severe ear infection. An ear infection can also take place due to swimming and water collects in an ear called Swimmer’s ear.
2. Ear Pressure
Sometimes it is very confusing to determine the exact cause of ear pressure. It can be an ear infection. But in some cases, the ear pressure could also be caused by deafness.
Ears feel like they need to pop and it is very important to diagnose the correct cause of ear pressure.
The common cause of ear pressure is an ear infection, Sinus infection/nasal congestion, Musculoskeletal inflammation or pain, hearing loss.
An ear infection is classic with ear pain and deafness. The nasal congestion can block the drainage pathway from the ear into the throat and create ear pressure.
It is very common with deafness to present as a sensation of pressure in the ear. It can make a person feel that the ear just needs to pop and clear and all will be well.
But when hearing loss is caused by nerve damage, no amount of popping can solve the issue.
3. Higher Altitude
Some people experience ear clogging while driving up in hilly areas or traveling in a plane. This is because of the change in instant air pressure. A Eustachian Tube helps in equalizing this pressure in the middle ear.
But at a higher altitude, it can’t function properly. The weight of the air inside the ear is generally equivalent to the weight outside of the ear.
In higher or lower elevations, for example, when flying on a plane or sea diving, the air pressure isn’t the equivalent.
Subsequently, the eustachian tube needs to open more extensive and all the more much of the time so as to keep up and even out to the new gaseous tension.
A great many people see that their ears feel more awful in a plane amid take-off and landing when the plane is making a brisk rising or plunge.
It can likewise happen whenever there are quick height or weight changes.
- A headache
- Breathe shortage
Earwax plays a vital role in protecting your ear canal by blocking the entry of debris in the ear. It helps in cleaning your ear canal.
Earwax is soft but sometimes it hardens. This building of earwax causes ear blockage. Using cotton swabs to clean your ear can be risky and even push earwax deep into your ear.
5. Acoustic Neuroma
It is a benign growth takes place in the cranial nerve joining the inner ear to the brain. This tumor is small but when become large puts pressure on a nerve in the inner ear. Gradually, it results in ear clogging.
6. Other Causes
- Sinus Infection
- Earwax Build-up
- Mucus Build-up
What To Do In Case You Can’t Pop your Ears?
When you are not able to pop your ears and your pain has been exceeded at least for two weeks. In such a case, don’t be late to consult your doctor.
He may tell you about the underlying conditions responsible for this sensation.
- Ear infection
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder(TMJ)
How Does Ear Popping Work?
The Eustachian Tube helps to maintain an equal amount of air pressure on both sides of the eardrum. It is done by supplying air to the middle ear.
There is a bulging of an eardrum in case of unequal pressure. It results in the feeling of fullness in the ear.
Popping your ears helps to move the eardrum back into its place. This eliminates discomfort. When you yawn, swallow or blow your nose, you hear clicking sound that’s what we call ear popping.
When these emotions take place, the eustachian tube opens automatically. The popping sound that you hear now is due to the entry of air in the middle ear through the eustachian tube.
How To Pop Your Ears Safely
Sometimes, you need to take a large yawn to open your clogged ears. If you can not yawn like real one then you can act like you are yawning.
You can do this several times if the first one is not working. You will not only feel your ears open but also you will start hearing more clear sounds than you did when they are filled up.
Swallowing is an effortless technique when your ears feel clogged. When you swallow something, your mouth muscles automatically starts working to open your Eustachian tube, so that the pressure which was built up equalizes and become normal.
There are some auxiliary steps also which helps to pop your ears:
- First, you need to close your mouth and hold your nose, then,
- Turn your head to the right, so that your chin must touch your shoulder,
- Swallow hard so that your left ear pop,
- Now turn your head to the left side, so that your chin must touch your shoulder, and lastly,
- Swallow hard so that your right ear pop.
3. Chew a Gum
While chewing a piece of gum, your mouth will remain in motion and that motion will help to regularize the pressure between the two ears.
You could use this technique in the beginning, to avoid your ears to be filled up, which means, you can chew a piece of gum before taking off.
If you don’t have anything then start acting like you are chewing something. This makes a sense of laughing at yourself, but it works.
4. Drink a Glass of Water
Take a glass filled with water. Sit in a relaxed motion and tilt your head towards the position of your auditory tube and take large sips to equalize the pressure in your ear. Your ear will unclog automatically if done correctly.
5. Valsalva Maneuver
It definitely sounds very difficult but it’s a very easy way of poping. It usually takes a few seconds and can be done sitting or lying down.
You have to pinch your nose first and after that close your mouth and start exhaling gently. Don’t breathe so hard that your eardrum damages.
6. Toynbee Maneuver
In this technique, you need to close your nose and drink a glass filled with liquid. Water is more preferable but instead of it, you can take any liquid which you think you are more comfortable in that situation.
The survey has found that this technique is more effective than the Valsalva Maneuver.
7. Frenzel Maneuver
To play out this move, squeeze the nose shut and utilize the tongue to make a clicking or “K” sound.
Special Devices To Unblock Ears
1. Special Earplugs
It helps to control the balance of air pressure in your ears with the outside environment. It does not give any surety of giving 100% results but, yes, you can say that it’s risk-free. Buy from Amazon in India and the US.
This device uses a specially pressurized balloon to open the auditory tube. Steps to use Otovent-
- Insert the nozzle into one nostril and grip the other nostril closed
- Blow the balloon from the first one where you have first inserted the nozzle.
- Repeat the step with another nostril.
Buy from Amazon in India and the US.
This device helps to open the Eustachian tubes. Insert this device into one nostril and close the other nostril and now push the button.
This device is especially used for small children and adults who have a problem in doing the Valsalva maneuver.
Home Remedies Used For Popping Your Ears
1. Water Gargling
As we all know that ear congestion is the most common cause for the blockage of the auditory tube. To remove out or clear out the infection, take the hot glass of water. The heat must suit your throat.
Take a spoonful of salt and mix it in your glass of water. Then start gurgling again and again till your glass becomes empty. Repeat this process after a break.
2. Steam Inhalation
Take a large bowl and start pouring the steam water into it. Add a little amount of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil. Inhale the steam with your head covered until your ears open.
This technique is also an essential way to get free yourself with your stuffed ears when you are suffering from the cold.
3. Hot compress
To remove the fluid from your ear a get through the pain, hold the cloth which is dipped nicely in the bowl of the hot water, near each ear for 5-6 mins.
If you are suffering from the sinus problem then this hot compress will be very useful for treatment.
Research On Popping Ears
In the research David Eisenman, an ear specialist in Washington, D.C., says that it totally depends on the middle ear which is an air-filled space behind the eardrum.
Whenever the outside environment changes its air pressure than the inside of the eardrum has to adjust itself to the outside environment.
In research, it is also found that the ear is a very sensitive part of the body, and the middle part of the ear is more sensitive than any other part of the body parts.
In the ear, there present an eardrum that stimulates the air pressure of the body. When the ear pressure is too high then it has the capability to damage your eardrum and if it is low then the eardrum can collapse which leads to a hearing loss.
The ear tries to maintain the balance of the air pressure with the environment. Normally maintaining the air pressure is not a problem.
On the ground the air pressure is normal but as you go up sitting on a plane than the pressure changes with the time changes and the middle of the inner ear has to maintain the eardrum to vibrates normally.
As Eisenman explains that, this is not very dangerous and risky, but a severe change in pressure may damage your ears.
You can take an example of the scuba divers who dive carefully the reason is the water pressure is more powerful than air pressure and it can affect more.
So inside in a plane, there is an artificial air pressure which takes the changes in pressure as less with the environment.
- Be gentle so that you don’t accidentally damage your inner ears, no matter which technique you try.
- When you have cold or other congestion, try to avoid flying.
- If you hear some crackling funny noises coming from your ear, visit your consultant doctor immediately.
- Avoid driving in high altitudes when you have a respiratory infection because that can be dangerous.
As long as you are gentle, ear-popping is very easy and safe for you. In fact, it works within a few tries. In the case of extended ear pain, follow what above all has been mentioned for your better health and quality of life.
A person suffering from the ear barotrauma can have a different cause. Sometimes it can cure with home remedies but sometimes it needs medical attention if it is severe.
Medical attention such as antibiotics which helps in maintaining the air pressure. For rare cases, surgery is required when prescribed by the specialist.
If you suspect any type of hearing loss, the very first step is to consult hearing care professional right away. So Book your schedule with us. Give us a call on our toll-free +91-9899437202.