Often when we travel by air or happen to visit the hills our ears start popping. This popping of ears then leaves us in a spot of bother for a while.

Ever wondered about finding out what is this irritating popping about and why does it happen?

Well, there is a simple scientific logic to the backdrop of this popping that we all witness. It is the all about the game of pressure. As pressures of air fluctuate you get subjected to this discomfort which may last briskly or cause you some severe pain.

Before we comprehend this it makes complete sense to know about a Eustachian tube which connects your nose to your middle ear.

It is a pencil-sized vessel running between the nose and the ear. As you find yourself amid fluctuating pressures the Eustachian tube comes into action automatically and try to balance the same.

When you’re plane is landing or when you’re ascending or descending from hills the pressure around you changes.

The air above the surface of the earth is less dense than the air near the surface of the earth. The air near the surface of the earth is denser as it is incessantly pushed down by the air above it.

The inner ear has air trapped in it and when the atmospheric pressure changes due to change in altitude your eardrum is subjected to paramount pressure.

When you have a cold or blocked nose the Eustachian tube gets blocked and in that case, you might witness exhilarating pain.

When your plane takes off there is the change of air pressure, the air becomes less dense with altitude and this change in pressure makes your eardrum push outwards.

Same is the case when you ascend on hills to higher altitudes. This discomfort where in your eardrum pushing out cause pain is what is known as the popping of ears.

This discomfort or the pressure that your eardrum is subjected to can further damage your hearing ability and make your eardrum burst!

How to fix this?

Here are some handy hacks to fix the problem of popping

Talk or yawn

As you open and close the Eustachian tube by talking or yawning amid discomfort you are actually equalizing the pressure. This works well for mild discomforts.


If you swallow or chew gum while your flight is about to take off you are making the muscles work. These muscles further would open up the Eustachian tube.


You can consult your doctors about the nasal sprays that would suit you best before a flight in case you are flying with a blocked nose. Not every nasal spray might suit you.

Use special earplugs

Look for special earplugs that seem to neutralize the pressure changes

Limit your flights

If you have to travel in cold then go for nonstop and direct flights rather than connections. The more you take off and land again and again the more are you make yourself vulnerable to being subject to this discomfort.

Remember this isn’t just discomfort but it can further damage your hearing ability badly and put you through a lot of pain.


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