NZ Woman's Weekly

Popping ears

Popping ears

For many of us, the worst part of a flight is the popping sensation in the ears. This occurs when the air pressure changes suddenly, such as when ascending in a plane. The air in the middle ear expands and exits down the Eustachian tube to the back of the nose. This tube is normally closed but the air forces it open, causing the ears to pop, explains Richard Irving, a British ear, nose and throat surgeon.

During landing, the outside air pressure rises, and the reverse occurs. Ears can also pop when climbing or descending from high altitude, diving under water, and even driving through a tunnel.

THE FIX: “Pop your ears on purpose,” says Mr Irving. Opening the Eustachian tube deliberately will enable air to rush in or out. Hold your nose and, with your mouth closed, either blow or swallow. If your ears don’t pop, try again – you may not have performed the action hard enough.

NZWW Dec-22-2014-issue

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