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How To Properly Pop Your Ears On A Plane, According To A Doctor

How To Properly Pop Your Ears On A Plane, According To A Doctor

It’s a problem that affects a majority of travellers – pressure builds up in your ears when you’re flying. Everyone has their own way to fix it, but have you ever wondered what the *right* way to pop your ears is?


First a little anatomy: that popping feeling is all thanks one little valve that runs from your middle ear back towards the back of your throat. This tube, called the eustachian tube, acts as a sort of pressure relief value that releases air during those rapid ascents and descents on planes. When the pressure builds up, your ear effectively blocks up and it kind of feels like your submerged in water. It sucks.

But lucky for you, Business Insider decided to do the right thing and ask an expert about what we need to do in this situation. Dr. William H. Shapiro, an audiologist from NYU says the post popular way to pop is probably causing you some damage.

Blocking your nose and effectively trying to “pop” your ears yourself by blowing out every orifice in your face is a huge no-no.


You’re going to cause a whole lot of trouble when you stat forcing too much air from the Eustachian tube – resulting in even more pain that you begun with.

Instead, try swallowing. Hold your nose closed and continuously try to swallow (chewing gum can help in this scenario if the air pressure has left your mouth a little dry). Your ears should naturally start to pop as soon as you swallow – it’s a whole lot gentler on your ears (and you won’t look like a crazy person at baggage claim).

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Et voilà…


Sweet relief.

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