How to Pop Your Ears: Know the Compelling Strategies

Have you ever had the feeling that your ears have built up pressure inside them, and you can almost hear a clunking sound? Of course, everyone does when they change their altitude from high to low or vice versa. If you are sick, it could also develop air pressure inside the middle ear a little too much and make your ears feel clogged. It is when you need to pop your ears. However, the question is; How to pop your ears?

Clogged Ear is a common problem witnessed by each of us at any point in our lives, especially when we are on a flight. You would not be able to hear yourself talking correctly or hear no one clearly. Usually, there is no specific cause of concern for ear clogging, but if you are asking how to unclog ears, you are probably witnessing a severe issue inside your middle ear space. 

Unusually for some people, the clogging does not come easy, and there are reasons behind it, more commonly a problem with the Eustachian tube that needs fixing. So before we straight away jump towards how to pop your ears, let’s just first figure out the mechanism of ear-popping and what are the possible reasons for your ear being unable to unclog itself from the pressure change?

The Mechanism Behind Your Ear Popping: What Exactly Happens?

Before we discuss how to make your ears pop, it is vital to determine why we need to pop it in the first place or why we suddenly hear the popping sound inside the middle ear? Ear clogging can be pretty painful and detrimental if one does not take proper action in due time. Sometimes the eardrum tends to balance the pressure-filled inside, but some instances also involve the inability of pressure to unclog, and that’s when it becomes a problem. 

A Sudden Change in Altitude and Air Pressure

Suppose you are on a trek at a high altitude, and as soon as you reach a certain level from the ground, you will start experiencing low levels of oxygen and stuffy ears. When the pressure inside our middle ear could not level up to the air pressure in the outside environment, the air-filled sealed space inside the ear expands,  and one would feel clogged ears and a little bit of uneasiness. It is also known as Ear Barotrauma.

If the difference in air pressure between the middle ear and the outside environment isn’t much, then your ears would eventually make a popping sound and relieve themselves from the pressure difference. But if the air built up is a little far from average, you would feel similar to plugged ears and want to pop your ears. The inability to do so makes people wonder; How to pop your ears?

The UnderWater Situation

Not every person needs to experience the same kind of pressure inside their middle ear. When the air cannot move from the upper part of the throat and nose passing through the eustachian tube connecting the middle ear, you are bound to feel that something is stuck inside your ear, and the constant discomfort could be bothering you. This phenomenon is evident at a high level in the air or underwater, especially while performing activities like Scuba Diving. 

How to pop your ears is vital knowledge to have because ear pressure equalization shields one from feeling pain while diving deep inside the water. As Collin County ENT informs,

Scuba Divers must ascend and descend at a certain level and pace to not affect the ear pressure and feel their ears clogged. However, some swimmers would find a sharp pain in the middle ear due to pressure building up in the eardrum when they are underwater. 

Now, let’s find out some ways to unclog the ears for those who do not suffer from any bacterial infection in their ears. 

How to Pop Your Ears Safely?

People often find it a little difficult for them to get their ears to pop. The thing is, it requires a little bit of muscle movement, and you would once again feel your ears in their usual self. Let’s find out how to pop your ears more safely?

Valsalva Maneuver

how to pop your ears


There has been a scientific belief that it is easier to stop constant hiccups whenever we pinch our nostrils and close them with our fingers. This methodology also works for unclogging the middle ear and clearing out the Eustachian tubes. While attempting to squeeze the nostrils, keep the cheeks neutral and slowly blow out the air. It would put pressure on the back of the nose, opening up the space in the middle ear. So if you want to know how to pop your ears, Valsalva Maneuver is one trick you can try to pop your ears safely. 


Swallowing or chewing could be a good muscle movement that opens up the Eustachian tube connected with the middle ear. You could also try to keep sucking on candy till the time your ears unclog themselves and make a popping sound. 

Over the Counter Medications

Since the nose and ears are connected to each other, improving the nasal congestion could help clear the passage towards the Eustachian tube and connect with the middle ear. The swollen tissue around the nasal passage causes inflammation and using nasal steroids, which are mainly over-the-counter medication, can help unclog the ears. 


how to pop your ears


Muscle movement like yawning could help you relieve your ear and unclog the middle ear space. When you open your mouth while breathing in and out, you open up the Eustachian Tube. Even if the yawning does not come to you naturally, try fake yawning and open your mouth as wide as you can. Keep yawning till the time your ear pops, and you feel them unclogged. 

Toynbee Maneuver

Valsalva and Toynbee maneuver both would work effectively. It is similar to the Valsalva maneuver, the only difference is to pinch your nostrils, and instead of blowing out the air slowly from your nostrils, you need to swallow hard. However, it would differ from one person to another. Once you try both of them, you need to figure out which technique works the best for you when it comes to knowing; how to pop your ears?

Warm Compress

People who suffer from seasonal allergens and flu can try applying a warm compress with the help of a heating pad close to their ears. This method is effective in unclogging congestion in the ear and helping to open up the Eustachian tube and makes one feel relieved file they feel stuffiness inside the nose, throat, and ear during Cold and Flu. 

When Can One Not Pop Their Ears?

One situation differs from the other, and you would never know about a specific medical condition until it turns severe and difficult to bear. The ear is one delicate part of our body, and one illness could cause a permanent defect for a lifetime. 

Nevertheless, any prevailing medical condition or illness could make it difficult for you to make your ears pop, and even if you want to know how to pop your ears, you might cause permanent damage to your ears while doing so. 

Let’s find out why popping their ears might be challenging for someone, and the condition could worsen if you forcefully try to unclog your ears. 

Built-up of Excessive Earwax

Earwax consists of oil, hair, wax, bacteria, dead skin, etc., which protects the ear from viruses and fungi that could cause any infection or damage inside the ear. However, nothing in excess can be good; similarly, when earwax accumulates inside the ear, it could cause a defect in the eustachian tube. Hence, it would make your ears feel stuffy, and you could probably not expect it to go back to normal by popping them. 

Meeting an expert doctor would help to clear this excessive earwax causing your ear to feel stuffy. There are several techniques of clearing out the space inside the ear, however, do not try to push through the swab to clean the dirt out. You would only be pushing it inside the ear, making the condition worse. 

Fluids in the Ear

how to pop your ears


Ear Infection is one of the biggest reasons for developing thick fluid inside the ear, and it would not drain itself down the throat. The auditory tube suffers due to blockage, and one might feel stuffiness inside the ear. Usually, when the tissues in the throat known as Adenoids swell up and become enlarged, it causes a blockage in the auditory tube. As a result, one would suffer from an ear infection. The ear infection is also defined as Otitis media with effusion. 

Another common reason for ear infection causing you to wonder and worry about how to pop your ears is the tissue in the nasal passage getting swollen and blocking your auditory tube. Your doctor would advise you to remove the tissues which are swollen and obstruct the upper part of the throat. 

Moreover, suppose you face the problem of frequent fluids obstructing the auditory tube and further leading to ear infections. In that case, it is best to opt for surgical techniques where an artificial tube is inserted in the middle ear that would drain the fluids and not let them accumulate inside the auditory tube. Remember not to worry about how to pop your ears if an ear infection is causing clogged ears.

Also Read: Can’t Hear Out of One Ear? Detailed Guide on What To Do


People who suffer from allergies like Sinusitis and other seasonal change factors often witness the problem where a heavy cold causes the accumulation of mucus inside the space in the middle ear. The occurrence of clogged ears due to cold and flu viruses that last more than three weeks must not be neglected since the allergens causing clogged ears could turn into something severe. 

Other Causes of Clogged Ears

how to pop your ears


There is not just one but many diseases associated with clogging of the ears. Apart from Allergens like Sinusitis infection, one can suffer from Tonsillitis, Nasal Polyps, etc., which would ultimately make you hear ringing sounds and a sharp pain inside the middle ear space. The problem must be severe enough to make you ask how to pop your ears, and if you still find it challenging to do so, there is a prevalent issue.

The only thing you could do is meet with an ENT specialist and diagnose the problem that makes you suffer. People who are constantly traveling by airplane often ask; how to pop your ears after a flight? However, in the first place, people with issues of ear stuffiness due to health issues must take proper measures so that their idea to pop the ears does not cause permanent damage inside the ear.

Bottom Line

Now that we have explored all the possible answers to how to pop your ears, make sure you understand your condition precisely. Do not try to pop your ears so hard when an ear infection prevails. It would only make the situation worse. The best solution would be to consult the doctor. However, as explained above in the blog, the air pressure outside and inside the middle ear has a minor difference. Hence, the ear would pop on its own and unclog.

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