Are you someone who loves to travel but one problem that seems troublesome to you is having frequent occurrence of congested ears? No matter what you do, if there is a slight change in the atmospheric pressure, you notice your ear is clogging up?
Then do not worry anymore, you have come to the right place because through this article, we will be discussing how you can pop your ear if you are suffering from a congested one safely and effectively.
What is ear clogging?
Our ears are very important organs of the body. Considered as one of the five senses of the body, our ears are extremely sensitive to changes in air and water pressure.
Although sounds scary, there is nothing to worry about as ear clogging as it is an extremely common phenomenon and some of the popular causes are:
- Change in atmospheric conditions
- Stuffy sinuses
- Microbial infections
- Deformity in any one of the ear canals.
- Tobacco, smoke and other harmful irritants.
- Hormonal changes
If you are suffering from ear congestions, some of the symptoms that can be observed during the condition are:
- Stuffed feeling in the ears
- As eardrum cannot make necessary vibrations, we hear muffled sounds.
- Mild or extreme ear pain
- In some extreme cases, busted eardrums can also be noticed. It causes bleeding or leaking of fluids from the ear and loss of earing
If the ear congestion does not occur from some underlying ailments and is due to pressure changes, it can be effectively cured with the help of popping technique. So let us now learn how you can effectively pop your ears then.
How to pop your ears?
Popping ears is quite a simple process and can be effectively achieved with moving the facial muscles correctly. However, before going through the techniques, make sure while applying the methods, to be gentle.
Some of the popular techniques used to pop ears are:
When we swallow, our muscles automatically work to open the eustachian tube and therefore it helps in clearing the congestion created in the tube. Chewing gum or sucking on some hard candy can help you to activate such responses.
Similar to swallowing, yawning also helps in opening the eustachian tube. You can try out the fake yawning tip also. Open your mouth as wide as possible and then try breathing in and out while in that position. Keep on repeating the process every few minutes until you hear the pop sound.
If swallowing and yawning does not provide you with your desired results, you can try the following exercises.
- Valsalva maneuver
Pinch your nostrils closed with your fingers. Keep your cheeks neutral or pull in them. Next, blow air gently through nostrils and slowly and steadily, create pressure in the back of the nose to open the eustachian tube.
- Toynbee maneuver
Similar to Valsalva maneuver, the procedures in Toynbee maneuver are the same but here pinching of nostrils takes place when you are swallowing something.
Applying a warm washcloth or covered heating pad against the congested ear will help to decongest the ear faster and open the eustachian tube. This is the most soothing and effective method available for popping the ears if the congestion is especially due to cold, cough or some other viral infections.
Clearing the nasal passage can also be an effective way to open the blocked eustachian tube. Use an OTC nasal decongestant and you can follow it up with Valsalva and Toynbee maneuvers for the most effective results.
Apart from nasal decongestants, you can also use nasal corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation in the nasal passages and equalize the pressure imbalance created in the eustachian tubes.
If the above-mentioned techniques do not produce your desired results, you can also use special devices specially designed for clearing congestion in the ears. Some of the devices that can be used are:
- Special earplugs
This device helps in regulating the airflow from the environment into the ear. More studies need to be done on the effectiveness of the earplugs but they are inexpensive and risk-free.
Otovent is a device which mimics the motions used in the Valsalva maneuver. According to the instructions, put the nozzle into your one nostril. At the other end is a deflated balloon. Pinch the open nostril closed and blow up the balloon using the nozzle in the first nostril.
EarPopper is a prescribed device that is used to open the eustachian tube. Insert the device into one nostril, close the other and push the button. This device will then release small puffs of air into nasal passages and Eustachian tubes.
How does popping work?
The eustachian tubes supply air to the middle ear and maintain equal amounts of pressure on both sides of the eardrum.
Negative pressure inside the ear occurs when the air pressure outside the ear becomes higher than the pressure inside and positive pressure inside the ear occurs when the air pressure outside the ear becomes lower than the pressure inside. The difference in the pressure causes the eardrum to bulge inwards or outwards as a response. This causes the feeling of congestion or fullness in the ear.
Popping of the ears causes the eardrum to move back in its original place ameliorating the discomfort and pain caused due to pressure imbalance. Following the above-mentioned techniques or the devices will help to open the eustachian tube and create a popping sound in the process. The sound is caused when air enters into the eustachian tube after the decongestion.
Apart from the procedures provided, the popping of the ears can also occur completely naturally. But that being said, it is always advisable to follow the techniques gently and do not produce any external pressure on the eardrum as it can further aggravate the condition.
If you cannot unclog your ears even after a day or two and the condition has worsened further, it is advisable to consult a doctor as clogged eardrums can lead to a condition known as perforated eardrum which leads to loosening of your hearing power for forever.
Consulting with your doctor as early as possible will help to diagnose the reason for your clogged ears and will also provide effective medications and treatments for your condition.