How to pop your ears

How to pop your ears

Reduce pressure during takeoff and landing.

Reduce pressure during takeoff and landing.
March 2024
Discover how to avoid ear pain during air travel. From babies to adults, everyone is affected by pressure changes during takeoff and landing. Here, we share the best tips for effective pressure equalization and a more comfortable journey.

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.

Use earplugs

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