Simple Tips To Keep Your Ears From Popping During A Flight

Sitting on an airplane as it takes off can be an exciting and exhilarating experience. However, many people dread what seems like the unavoidable and irritating feeling of their ears popping. This is an even worse experience when traveling with small children who don't understand why their ears suddenly hurt.

According to Time, the air pressure on both your eardrums are typically equal and balanced, so air usually doesn't have a problem flowing through your eustachian tube — which links the back of your nose to the middle of your ear. However, as you travel thousands of feet up into the sky, the air pressure in your eardrums can become imbalanced and trigger your ears to pop.

If you're currently planning your next vacation, we urge you to take a look at our tips to prevent your ears from popping on flights. These are simple steps that almost any traveler can take to ensure a pleasant flying experience — especially if your flight is several hours long.

Easy steps to follow

According to Healthy Hearing, just the simple act of swallowing or yawning can help if you feel your ears starting to pop on the airplane. It's a useful tactic that can push the air from your nose and into the middle ear, which will balance the air pressure. When you do this, you should hear a clicking or popping sound as small air bubbles travel through the eustachian tube. When you yawn or swallow, this helps your eustachian tube to work harder and balance out the air pressure between both of your ears.

Something most of you have probably tried is filling your mouth with air, closing it, and pinching your nose shut as you gently push out the air to make a popping noise. This is called the Valsalva maneuver, and Healthy Hearing advises against using this technique because it can lead to a horrible ear infection. Instead, try the Toynbee maneuver; shut your mouth and nose, then swallow a few times until you feel the air pressure balance out. You can repeat this technique until your ears feel better.

Child friendly options

Adults should always remember to bring a handy-dandy stick of gum or hard candy when traveling by plane. According to Healthy Hearing, chewing on gum or sucking on your favorite hard candy can help balance out the air pressure between your ears. However, if you're traveling with an infant or toddler, this could be a potential choking hazard.

So instead, Mayo Clinic suggests giving your small child a bottle to suck on when the plane is taking off and during landing time. If your child is being fussy about using a bottle, a pacifier can work as well. A technique that may be fun for your child is blowing bubbles into a drink through a straw. If none of this seems like it's working, do not be tempted to use decongestants, because their use is not recommended for young children. According to Healthline, giving decongestants to young children, especially those younger than 2 years old, can cause stomach aches, headaches, and insomnia.