How to Pop Your Ears Safely

If your ears are clogged up it can be tough to get rid of the trapped air, water, or wax. It’s helpful to know how to pop your ears as a simple yet effective way to clear your ears and hear better.

A man popping ears

Are you looking for ways to unclog your ears? It could be stopped up with air, water or other stuff. When that happens, it can be quite frustrating. Maybe you’ve tried just about everything but you can’t clear your ears. Learning how to pop your ears safely is one of the many options you have. Sometimes when your ears are clogged it’s just annoying. Could it be worse? If it affects your hearing then it’s a double whammy. That’s when it’s critical to unclog your ears since it could have a negative effect on your daily life. That’s when your stopped-up ears could become a safety issue.

You actually have various ways to unclog your ears. Some options are as easy as chewing gum or yawning. Others have fancy names but are still about forcing air out of your ears. Is it safe to pop your ears? That’s the million-dollar question. The whole concept probably doesn’t sound safe. Isn’t it dangerous to “pop” your ears to get stuff like water out? Well, it’s all about taking the right steps and stopping if you’re not getting the best results. If you follow those guidelines then there shouldn’t be a problem popping away!

What Is Popping Your Ears?

Sometimes stuff gets stuck in our ears. If you go swimming you might get a little water in your ear then you can hear it swirling around every time you move your head. This is the time when you can pop your ear to push the water out of the tubes.

In fact, you’ve probably heard your ears pop sometimes without even trying. When you fly up, dive down, or drive up/down a mountain you might have heard your ears pop. This happens as they adjust to the new pressure of where you’re at.

What’s it all about? The popping/clicking takes place as the air moves from the top part of your throat/nose into something called the “Eustachian tube” located in the. middle ear. When elevation changes quickly and your ears don’t pop you should try to do it manually. That’s because if you don’t it can actually cause pain.

The main goal is to equalize the pressure that’s in your ears. It’s something you’ll certainly want to do when you feel pain or pressure in your ears. You’ll also want to do it in the air, water, wax, etc. air or is affecting your hearing. When that happens it’s not only uncomfortable but also possibly dangerous if you can’t hear things around you like vehicles.

“Popping” your ears can involve doing different things. The main goal is always to open up the tube in your middle ear, and hear better if the clogged ear is affecting your hearing.

The big question is: is popping your ears “safe”? Yes, it typically is. The key is to do it gently to prevent causing any negative effects to your ear. As always if the situation gets worse it’s critical to stop immediately. You’ll certainly want to avoid making the situation worse. If that happens then it’s time to call your doctor.

How to Pop Your Ears

If you want to pop your ears you have several options but here are some of the main opens:

1. Yawning

Yawning: it’s not just before bedtime. Even if you aren’t sleepy you can take this step to try and pop your ears. Here’s how to do it. First, open your mouth as wide as possible. While doing this keep breathing in/out.

This method might not work for the first time. Just try it every couple of minutes until you can hear your ear pop. The best part of this option is it it’s quick, easy and free.

2. Toynbee method

This is really easy. You just have to use your fingertips to pinch your nostrils while swallowing. That’s it! This can be an effective way to pop your ear although sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s certainly worth a try to clear out your ears.

3. Chewing/Swallowing

This is probably surprising since it seems to involve your throat rather than your ears. What’s it all about? This actually opens the clogged ear tube. Options include eating food, sucking on hard candy or chewing gum. Besides unclogging your ears this is a good excuse to eat candy and chew gum!

4. Valsalva method

This is actually much easier than it sounds. Use your fingers to pinch your nostrils so they’re closed. While keeping your cheeks in, use your nostrils to blow air gently. This method works by forcing air out of your ears instead of the nose to open up the clogged ear tube.

5. Warn Washcloth

You can use a washcloth or heating pad (covered) for this one. Place it against the ear to reduce congestion and open the clogged tube. This is a good option if a cold/flu causes the clogged ear.

How to Prevent Clogged Ears

While it’s important to know how to pop ears you should also know the main causes of them getting stopped up in the first place. Here are some of the main causes that result in the need to do ear-popping:

1. Ear Wax

Plugged ears can be caused by too much ear wax. Some people’s ears produce too much ear wax so the body doesn’t remove it naturally. If you have an earwax problem make sure your doctor handles it. This will prevent the wax from getting pushed in more or even worse—a damaged eardrum.

2. Foreign Objects

It’s common for kids, in particular, to put stuff in their ears. They do it for various reasons including a dare from a friend or simply because they’re curious.

If a child keeps rubbing their ears and making an irritated face then there might be something in their ear. Getting them to pop their ears can help to remove the item. Whenever possible try to prevent them from putting the item in their ear, to begin with.

3. Altitude Changes

Have you ever felt pressure in your ears when taking off in a plane, driving up a mountain, or scuba diving? The change in pressure can put pressure on the inner ear.

You can try to prevent clogged ears during these events by continuing to do actions like chewing, swallowing or yawning. If your ears still suffer from extra pressure you can do those same activities and others since you now know how to pop your ears.

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