Nine techniques for relieving pressure during takeoff and landing.
How to Pop Your Ears on a Plane—And Why They Pop, Anyway
We’ve all felt it: A plane descends, pressure inside the cabin changes, pressure builds inside our ears, and then—pop! Here’s everything you need to know about why altitude changes affect your ears and how to deal with it, pain-free.
Why Do Your Ears Pop on Airplanes?
It all starts with your Eustachian tube, a pencil-sized funnel connecting the back of your nose with the middle ear. As your airplane prepares for landing, it ensures air pressure on both sides of the eardrum stays roughly the same. “When you fly, they’re changing the pressure around you,” says Dr. Quinton S. Gopen of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. “To keep up, you need to open and close your Eustachian tube, or it will hurt your ear.”
Why Your Ears Won’t Pop
One common reason ears just won’t pop? Colds or allergies, which cause your mucus membranes to become inflamed. That inflammation then causes the Eustachian tube to become clogged and it’s unable to open and close properly. At best, this is gonna hurt. At its worst, you may rupture your eardrum or bleed into the space behind it.