How to Pop Your Ears in 7 Easy Ways

how to pop your ears

How to pop your ears is a question everyone will address at some point in life. The need to pop your ears arises when there is an imbalance of air in the eardrum area or if you have clogged ears.

The imbalance is caused by different scenarios, such as flying on a plane or catching a cold. This article mainly addresses techniques on how to pop your ears as well as how to unclog your ears. Also, it addresses another common issue “my ears won’t pop”. 

Related Reading: How to Get Rid of Water in Ear?

Is Popping Your Ears Safe?

Clogged ears create an uncomfortable feeling. Popping your ears may relieve you from the discomfort, and it’s safe to pop your ears.

There are various ways that will tell you how to pop your ears and how to pop your ears when you have a cold. Gently practice the techniques, so to avoid hurting your ears. It is best to consult a doctor if the symptoms get worse.

How to Pop Your Ears?

There are various techniques to address the question, “how to pop your ears?” The methods listed below are easy to implement and safe.

how to pop your ears

1. Swallowing

Swallowing is one of the common ways to address the question, “how to pop your ears.” Swallowing uses the muscles that open the Eustachian tubes. Also, the built-up pressure equalizes. Here are the steps to the swallowing technique:

  • Close your mouth and hold your nose
  • Turn your head to the right and try to touch your chin to your shoulder
  • To pop left ear, swallow hard
  • To pop your right ear, turn your head to the left
  • Repeat these steps if needed

2. Yawning

Another technique to open the Eustachian tubes is yawning. Yawning allows air to flow in and out of the middle ear. Like swallowing, this process equalizes and releases pressure.

Popping the ears using this technique requires a large yawn. If you can’t yawn, you can fake a large yawn. All it takes is opening your mouth as wide as it can while breathing in and out. It may take a few fake yawns to pop the ears.

3. Valsalva Maneuver

This maneuver is an easy way to pop your ears, and it also opens the Eustachian tubes. Unlike swallowing or yawning, the pressure comes from behind the nose.

Besides popping the ears, the Valsalva maneuver relieves ear pain and stuffiness. Here are the steps:

  • Using your fingers, pinch your nose to close it
  • Close your mouth
  • Take a deep breath while keeping your cheeks neutral
  • Regulate air pressure by blowing air out gently through your nose
  • Repeat these steps until you hear a slight popping sound

Note: Blowing too hard can damage your eardrums.

4. Toynbee Maneuver

Another technique to address the question, “how to pop your ears,” is the Toynbee maneuver. This technique is a hybrid of Valsalva maneuver and swallowing.

The popping happens by changing the pressure from the middle ear by swallowing and gently blowing through the nose. This process is done with the mouth shut. Here are the steps to perform this technique:

  • Take a sip of water
  • Pinch your nose to close it
  • Swallow water
  • You should hear a popping sound after the previous step

Related Reading: Lump in Earlobe: Common Causes and Treatments

5. Applying Warm Washcloth

The warm washcloth technique is recommended for colds, flu, or allergies. Pressing a warm washcloth against your ear helps decrease congestion and open the Eustachian tube. Besides, it can also soothe you.

6. Nasal Decongestants

Since the nasal passage is connected to the ears, it would make sense to unclog congested nasal passage. There are over-the-counter nasal decongestants to try. It is recommended to try either the Valsalva or Toynbee maneuver too.

7. Nasal Corticosteroids

Nasal corticosteroids is another type of over-the-counter medicine to try. This kind of OTC helps reduce inflammation in the nasal passage and provides more airflow. The airflow is essential to open the Eustachian tube.

How Does It Work?

In addition to knowing “how to pop your ears,” it is necessary to know how this process works. As you read in the previous section, the functioning of the Eustachian tube plays an important role. This tube supplies air to the middle ear, which helps balance the pressure on both sides of the eardrum.

If your ear feels full, it is the difference of pressure in the ear drum area. The eardrum has bulged inward or outward in this case.

Knowing how to pop your ears puts the eardrum back in place. It also rebalances the pressure and eliminates discomfort.

When to See Your Doctor?

It is best to see your doctor if you cannot pop or unclog your ears in a two-week time-frame. Also, seek medical attention if you are experiencing pain in your ear. Your doctor can check for the following medical conditions:

  • Adenoids
  • Allergies
  • Common cold
  • Ear or sinus infection
  • Earwax buildup
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders

Clogged eardrum can lead to a perforated eardrum if it bulges to the bursting point. It can occur during activities like flying or scuba diving due to rapid change in pressure. Now that you know how to pop your ears, you should do it gently to avoid complications.

“How to Pop Your Ears,” Top 10 Home Remedies web site;, last accessed October 06, 2017.
“Everything You Need to Know About Popping Your Ears,” Healthline web site;, last accessed October 06, 2017.

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Irene Entila

Irene is a health and fitness consultant based out of Albuquerque, NM. She was a personal trainer during the years of 2010-2013. She holds a Bachelors of Liberal Arts with a focus on creative writing from The Evergreen State College. She obtained her personal trainer license through Seattle Central College in 2010. Irene has been an athlete since childhood. She currently train and compete in ultra-marathon running and jiu jitsu. She started health writing in 2009 as a hobby through her personal blog. She believes that people can seek help from a trainer or trained profession to reach fitness and health goals. Though, people can learn a lot about them and promote self-sufficiency if they had affordable resources. By 2010, Irene started contributing to several health websites while completing her personal trainer certification and training for marathons. She saw how certain health variables affected her training and wanted to share this information with the public. Since then, Irene has written various articles about health and fitness featured on different magazines.