5 ways to ‘unclog’ your ears on a flight that really work

Having your ears plug up during a flight is an uncomfortable sensation that faces many people. The American Academy of Otolaryngology showed that it’s due to the auditory tube, a channel in our ear that stabilizes pressure between our 2 ears.

While ascending or descending in a flight, the auditory tube’s ability to control the pressure is affected by the change in altitude. The collapse of the auditory tube is due to the change in pressure, which creates that blocked sensation. 

This means the solution to relieving that feeling is to open up to the auditory tube, so the pressure can be equalized, and to make that happen, you don’t have to wait until you arrive at your destination.

Here are 5 methods to open up your ears while you’re still on board.

Chewing gum:

Make sure to always pick up some gum, while waiting at the airport. Chewing gum can really facilitate popping your ears on a plane because it helps to produce saliva. We naturally swallow as the mouth produces saliva; and that helps the muscles on the roof of your mouth to stretch the auditory tube and open it. This usually takes the clogged feeling in your ears away.

 Sucking on a hard candy:

Just like chewing gum, sucking a lollipop, or any kind of candy can stimulates the production of saliva, which in result lead to swallowing. As said previously, this action pops your ears.

Make yourself yawn:

One of the easiest and safest ways to open up your ears is to force a yawn if you are not tired. According to doctors, opening up our mouths very nice and wide pulls the muscles connected to the auditory tube in the back of our throat. This action helps to pop the tube so it can be adjusted to the atmosphere pressure. Once the pressure stabilizes, the discomfort disappears. You can make yourself yawn by breathing deeply while thinking about it.

Use the doctor-approved technique known as the Valsalva maneuver.

This is a very popular and effective technique to clear air-clogged ears. According to Health-line, to achieve a good Valsalva, first, you need to be closing your mouth and pinch your nose. Then breathe gently through your nose.

 Doing this actually pushes air into the nose, and the auditory tube. That air flow will cause the tube to open up and pop that clogged feeling.

However, make sure not to blow the air too forcefully into your nose, because it will probably burst your eardrum.

If you find the precedent technique too difficult, try the Toynbee Maneuver.

Toynbee Maneuver is another effective method to clear your ears, according to a Military Medical Academy. It’s really simple to do it, just pinch your nose and swallow. If your mouth is dry, take some sips of water and the process will be easier.


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