Why do ears clog during a flight and how to unclog them

When a plane climbs or descends, a common occurrence that passengers often experience is airplane ear or ear clogging. The condition occurs when a lack of balance in the air pressure located in the middle ear and the environment prevents the eardrum from vibrating properly.

At the time of the air pressure change, the tube that regulates the ear pressure around the eardrum — Eustachian tube — does not change quickly enough and causes a feeling of blockage and pressure in your ears. Try various remedies to relieve some of the air pressure in your ears for a less painful flight.

STEP 1

Yawn as often as you can. Yawning activates the muscles that open the Eustachian tube to allow pressure to balance out in the ears.

STEP 2

Eat hard candy, which causes you to have to swallow frequently. Swallowing allows the pressure to balance out in your ears by opening the Eustachian tubes.

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STEP 3

Chew gum during the entire flight to prevent your ears from blocking in the first place and eliminate the pain or pressure of airplane ear. This method causes frequent swallowing as well.

STEP 4

Take a decongestant or use a nasal spray one hour before the flight departs. Decongestants and nasal sprays open your nasal passages, which in return can cause your Eustachian tube to remain open during your flight.

STEP 5

Pinch your nose shut, inhale a mouth full of air and close your mouth. Blow gently as if trying to blow your nose until you hear a pop. The popping sound indicates that your ears are unblocked. You may have to repeat this step several times until your ears are completely unclogged.

STEP 6

Drink a lot of water to stay well hydrated and avoid irritation of the nasal passages and throat, which ensures better function of the Eustachian tubes.

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