Ways to pop your ears on a flight

For many people, one of the most difficult parts of flying is the changing pressures. It’s not comfortable and people will do just about anything to make their ears pop and alleviate the pressure! Luckily, popping your ears isn’t as hard as you may think. We’ve gathered five easy ways to pop your ears on a flight.

How to Relieve Ear Pressure on a Plane

1. Yawn or talk

Yawning or talking is a great way to relieve mild discomfort in your ears. Even faking a yawn, or moving your jaw around, can help activate the Eustachian tube and equalize the pressure with the environment. 

2. Chew gum or drink water

Chewing gum, swallowing, and sucking on candy may have been things your mom suggested when you were younger. But, she was right! They are actually great ways to relieve ear pressure as they open up the Eustachian tube.

3. Valsalva maneuver

The Valsalva maneuver is one of the most common and easiest ways to pop your ears on a flight. In fact, you’ve likely done it dozens of times before and simply never knew it had a name. The Valsalva maneuver is completed by pinching the tip of your nose so that your nostrils are closed, closing your mouth, and exhaling through your nose. You’ll likely feel a release of pressure in your ears and immediate relief. If it doesn’t work on the first try, attempt again a few minutes later.

4. Toynbee maneuver

The Toynbee maneuver is similar to the Valsalva in that it’s an easy and efficient way to unclog your ears. You’ll first need to squeeze the tip of your nose to close the nostrils, then swallow. It’s as simple as that. Consider alternating this motion with the Valsalva movement every few minutes for ear pressure relief. 

5. Use earplugs

Another inexpensive way to alleviate ear pressure while flying is to purchase special earplugs. Disposable, airplane specific-earplugs are inexpensive and greatly assist in regulating air pressure. Some filter air as well.