My ears fill with air as if I was on a plane and then there is a popping sound. How do I relieve the pressure?

At some point of time or another, most of us have experienced the pressure and pain in our ears when we’re flying. There is a popping sound inside the ear and sometimes, it turns from mild discomfort to excruciating pain. Ear problems are in fact the commonest complaint of frequent flyers.

This actually happens because of the change in air pressure with the change in altitude. The ear equalizes pressure inside the body and outside. This process is carried out by the Eustachian tubes that connect the middle of the ear to the nose. The Eustachian tube generally remains closed, however every now and then it also opens up while we are chewing. The motion involuntarily opens up the tube and relieves pressure.

The best way to open up the ears and relieve the pain therefore is movement of the mouth. Yawning and chewing sugarless gum have proved to be the best methods to open up ears and regain the balance. In fact, flight attendants swear by these methods to relieve the pain in the ears.

Another way to regain the balance and maintain pressure in the ears is to perform a technique called Valsalva maneuver. In this particular technique, close your mouth and nose and exhale forcibly. This maneuver also helps in opening up the Eustachian tubes to maintain the pressure inside.

If you are traveling with young children, a pacifier seems to do the trick. You can insert the pacifier as soon as taking off is announced and then remove when the flight is in air. Repeat while landing. The constant sucking motion keeps the children occupied and also works well to open up the Eustachian tube.

Inhalants also work well in an airplane. Keep a small bottle of eucalyptus oil, which is available in the market and is frequently used to vaporize to relieve stress. As soon as the announcement for taking off is made, just douse a little bit of the oil on your handkerchief and inhale. The vapors pass through the nasal tubes and clear out all sinus cavities. The nasal cavities and the tubes in the ear get completely cleared. This works as a great natural remedy for people of all ages.

You can also try dropping your jaw. This also helps in opening up the Eustachian tube to let fresh air in. You can also try the cotton plugs that are supplied in the airlines. The cotton plugs keep your ears closed and prevent any extra air from passing inside.

answered by G M

Ears might cause an imbalance in pressure regulation in cases of sinusitis, rhinitis, glue ear, colds, flu, headaches or migraines.

  • Chew sugar free gum or suck on mints or a piece of fruit that would make you to swallow more than usual, preventing the symptom.
  • Keep cotton plugs to keep your ears close, this will avoid the extra air finding its way to your ears.

Consult an ENT specialist for the exact cause and cure of the elevated pressure in your ears.

answered by S P

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