Luckily, your ears are pretty good at regulating air pressure. Thanks to a little piece of anatomy called the Eustachian tubes, they are able to equalize air pressure in your ears
Have you ever been on an airplane and your ears suddenly feel blocked? You may have heard someone recommend chewing gum, but you don’t quite understand why that works sometimes.
1. Yawn or Talk
Yawning is an involuntary reaction where you open your mouth wide and take in a big breath before quickly exhaling. It may be a response to fatigue, boredom, or stress.
Despite its association with sleepiness, yawning can also be a helpful way to relax the brain after prolonged periods of mental activity. Research shows that yawning can improve oxygen in the blood and remove carbon dioxide.
Yawns are also a common way to relieve ear pressure during rapid changes in altitude, such as airplanes or elevators. This pressure difference can trap air in the middle ear and cause hearing problems.
Yawning is also an empathetic response that can help us understand the emotions of others. Researchers have found that yawning mimics the emotional reactions of other mammals, such as chimpanzees.
2. Pinch Your Nose Close
When you pinch your nose close, it creates a vacuum in your nostrils that helps your Eustachian tubes open. This trick can also help pop your ears when you are flying or using an elevator.
Swallowing air or swallowing water, candy or gum is another common way to equalize pressure in the ear and pop your ears. This motion helps your eustachian tubes open to relieve pressure and make your ears feel full again.
To do this, pinch your nose shut and then try swallowing something like a piece of gum or a drink. This will help your eustachian tubes open, and it is more effective than the Toynbee maneuver.
You can also blow out your nose gently while pinching your nostrils closed and keeping your mouth shut. This will also make your ears pop, but it may be more gentle on the ear than the other methods listed.
3. Blowing Out Air
During air pressure changes, such as when you are flying on an airplane or driving up or down a mountain, your ears can feel clogged and need to pop. This can be caused by an underlying condition called Eustachian tube dysfunction, but it’s also often due to an ear infection or sinus infection.
Your eustachian tubes connect each middle ear to the back of your nose and help regulate air pressure in your ear. This helps your ears function normally, but it can be difficult to do when you have a medical problem or an obstruction.
The best way to clear your ear is by opening the eustachian tubes. These tubes automatically open when you swallow, chew gum, or yawn, and they help equalize the air pressure in your ear.
However, if your eustachian tube can’t open easily, you may need to try other techniques to unclog your ear. You can use the Valsalva maneuver or the Lowry method to force air into your ear.
4. Blowing a Balloon
If you’ve ever tried to blow a balloon, you know that it can take some time and effort. Especially if you’re blowing up a bunch of large, thick balloons, it can take a while to inflate them.
However, it’s important to be aware of the risk of overinflating balloons with this technique, as well as choking hazards for young children. To avoid these issues, it’s a good idea to use this method for smaller balloons only.
Once the balloon is inflated, pinch the inflation tab closed and remove the straw. This will secure the balloon and ensure it doesn’t fall apart.
It’s also a good idea to pre-inflate balloons with an air pump, as this stretches them out and makes them easier to inflate when you need them. This can save you a lot of effort and time in the long run.
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