How to pop your ears
Reduce pressure during takeoff and landing.
Have a chat
Talking helps keep that tube open. So go on, make friends with the person next to you! When you get tired of that, try yawning (fake yawning works fine, too).
Have a drink
We’ve all seen how babies calm down instantly when they have something to drink during takeoff and landing. Have a swig of liquid, suck on candy or chew gum, all effective methods against blocked eustachian tubes.
Use nasal sprays
Use a long-acting anti-decongestant nasal spray. Spray 30 minutes before takeoff and 30 minutes before landing for the most effective cover. But beware – the sprays don’t necessarily get your ears popping all the way, but they can assist in prepping the pop.
Do The valsalva maneuver
Pinch your nose shut, keep your mouth closed and try to blow air out through your nose. Great technique that works to relieve the pressure at the back of the nose.
Do the toynbee maneuver
Then do the Toynbee maneuver. Releasing pressure in the nose is good, but move on to this technique, which simply involves gently pinching your nose shut while simultaneously swallowing, to also relieve pressure in the ears.
There are earplugs that ease pain from cabin pressure buildup. The hypoallergenic plugs EarPlanes, for instance, are designed to regulate air pressure. You can find them at well-stocked pharmacies.
Use a warm cloth
Apply a warm washcloth or heating pad over your ear to unclog the Eustachian tube, which will release pressure.
Text by Liv Lewitschnik