There are many ways to pop your ears if they are blocked. Sometimes, swallowing, yawning, or chewing gum can be helpful. How can these methods help clear your ears and sinuses?

Your body balances the air pressure between your eardrum. You will feel your ears plugged if the tension between the middle and outside of your ears changes. It might even hurt if there are a lot of pressure changes.

Sometimes, your middle ear may have difficulty adjusting to the pressure. This could happen when you dive into the water or fly in an aircraft. This could also happen if you drive up and down a mountain.

The pressure difference will eventually be adjusted by your middle ear. You will feel your ears pop when it does. Sometimes, you might need to yawn or swallow to relieve the pressure.

You may not be able to pop your ears due to certain medical conditions. You may need to visit a healthcare provider if this happens.

This article will discuss why your ears feel so plugged and how to pop them quickly. This article also discusses some conditions that may make it difficult to pop your ears.

What causes the feeling of plugged ears?

If your ears don’t pop, it will cause a fullness or plugging feeling. There are many reasons your ears may feel pressured.

Each middle ear connects to the upper portion of your throat via the Eustachian tubes. These tubes are also known as auditory tubes. You feel the popping sensation when air flows from your upper throat and nose into your middle ear via the eustachian tubes.

You may not be able to pop your ears if you have a medical condition that affects the eustachian tube.

How to Pop Your Ears Effectively

This list might help you if all else fails to work. You might have some ideas to unclog your ears that you didn’t know about.

  • Swallowing
  • Yawning
  • Chewing gum
  • Hard candy is a temptation
  • Before you travel, use decongestants Afrin (oxymetazoline ) or Sudafed (pseudoephedrine )
  • Warm compresses to the ear

These steps won’t make you scream, but there are other strategies that might be worth a try.

  • Valsalva maneuver: Inhale. Keep your nose shut. Keep your lips closed and try to blow forcefully as though you’re blowing up a balloon. As if you had a bowel movement, bear down. This causes the middle ears and sinuses to pop, increasing pressure. 1
  • Toynbee maneuver: Close your mouth, close your nose, and then swallow. This will increase pressure in the nose and throat as well as your inner ears. It makes ears pop.
  • Consider giving your toddler or infant a bottle, pacifier, or other drink if you’re traveling. Ear pain can occur if the pressure difference persists and you are unable to pop your ears. This could also lead to barotrauma which is a ruptured or damaged eardrum.

Why your ears won’t pop

  • You may have an ear problem if you feel pressure, or pain, or your ears feel plugged but won’t pop. This problem can be caused by disorders that affect your auditory tube function.

Fluid in the Ear

  • Fluid in the ears could cause your ears to pop if they don’t open. The thickened fluid can block the auditory tube, preventing the fluid from leaking into the back. This can sometimes be caused by an ear infection.
  • There are a few names for this condition, including:
    • Serous Otitis Media
    • Glue ear
    • Otitis media with effusion
  • The Adenoids, which are tissue patches located high up in your throat, are. They can enlarge and block the auditory tubes, which can cause fluid to build up in the ear. It can also happen if your nasal passage tissues become swollen.
  • 3 If the surrounding tissue is clogging the auditory tube, it may need to be removed.
  • A surgical procedure can be used to treat frequent issues with fluid in your ear. They allow the ear to drain and equalize pressure.
  • Your ears won’t pop if you have ear canals. Because the pressure will be equalized automatically, your ears won’t pop.

Excessive Earwax

  • A buildup of earwax can cause a plugged ear. Too much earwax can cause problems with your auditory tube. 4 Your healthcare provider can remove the earwax. It is usually possible to do it in their office.
  • Special ear drops can dissolve wax and remove it. You can flush it out with water. To remove the wax, a healthcare provider can use a special tool called a cerumen teaspoon.
  • To remove wax, do not use an ear candle or cotton wipes. This could cause the wax to sink further.
  • An ENT should remove a blockage in the eardrums.


  • Mucus may be causing your ears to pop if you have recently had a cold. Mucus buildup can cause pressure problems in the middle ear. You can take a decongestant before you board an airplane or drive to higher elevations if you have allergies.
  • Congestion can also be caused by cold viruses. However, if your symptoms last more than three weeks, consult a healthcare professional. It could be due to allergies or another condition.

Patulous Eustachian Tube

  • Sometimes your ears won’t pop, and any matter what you do is a sign of something wrong with the ear tubes.
  • The condition in which the tube remains open is called Patulous Eustachian Tube. This is a rare condition. Symptoms include:5
    • The sensation of plugged ears
    • Tinnitus Ringing in the ears.
    • Autophony is when your voice sounds abnormally loud.
    • Listen to your own breath.
  • It is important to stay hydrated if you have a patulous eustachian tub. Drink plenty of fluids during the day, and use a humidifier at night.
  • Non-invasive and surgical options are available for treating the patulous Eustachian Tube. It may be suggested to use nasal sprays such as saline, antihistamines, and decongestants or corticosteroids. However, medicated nasal sprays may make the problem worse. 6
  • Ear tubes work about half the time. Ear tubes are effective about half the time.

Other causes

  • If you are having trouble getting your ears to pop and you have tried everything, it is possible to visit a provider to determine if there is a problem. 7 These conditions can also cause problems in your auditory tube.
    • Sinusitis is an infection of the nasal passages.
    • Nasal polyps are growths that occur in your nasal passages.
    • Larger turbinates. Your nasal passages contain structures called turbinates that warm and humidify your air.
    • Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils.
  • Usually, an ENT specialist will be able to help with any of these problems. Your ENT might prescribe medication. In certain cases, ear Surgery may be necessary.
  • These conditions can make traveling uncomfortable or difficult. These conditions should be addressed by a healthcare provider before you travel.