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Top tips on how to unpop your ears

Post on 3rd July 2024

Many of us will be familiar with the uncomfortable feeling of blocked ears, especially in the summer months when we are more likely to be jetting off to warmer climates and enjoying splashing about in the pool.

How’s best to unpop your ears – now that is the question?

At Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care, with over 85 years of experience in eye and hearing health, we offer our top tips on the most effective methods to unpop your ears safely to relieve the pressure and restore normal hearing.

General tips for unblocking ears

  • Yawning and swallowing: Try yawning or swallowing repeatedly to help alleviate the pressure in your ear.
  • Chew gum or suck on sweets: The act of chewing gum or sucking on sweets stimulates the swallowing reflex, which can help unblock your ears.
  • Pinch your nose:
    • Take a deep breath, pinch your nostrils shut, close your mouth and gently blow as if you are blowing your nose. Be careful not to blow too hard!
    • Alternatively, pinch your nose and swallow simultaneously. This helps alleviate ear pressure by using both the muscles used for swallowing and the pressure created by pinching your nose.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps keep the inner workings of your ears moist and more flexible.


Tips for Flying

Use EarPlanes: These are special earplugs designed to help regulate ear pressure. They can be worn during take-off and landing.

Stay awake during descent: Sleeping during descent can make it harder to equalise ear pressure. Try to stay awake and perform pressure-equalising manoeuvres, such as those mentioned above.


Tips for Swimming

Earplugs: Use earplugs while swimming to prevent water from entering the ear canal.

Gravity and tilting: Tilt your head to the side and gently pull on your earlobe to allow water to drain out. You can also lie down with the affected ear facing downward. Alternatively, tilt your head to the side and move your jaw in a chewing motion to help dislodge trapped water.

Ear drying drops: Over-the-counter ear drying drops can help evaporate trapped water in the ear canal.

Warm Compress: Apply a warm compress to the affected ear. The warmth can help facilitate drainage.


When to see a doctor

If you experience severe pain, hearing loss, dizziness, or discharge from the ear, seek medical attention.

Persistent blockage for more than a few days, despite home remedies, should also be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

If you have any concerns about your hearing health, you will find help and advice on our website or alternatively visit your local Scrivens branch.

If you found this article useful, you may also be interested in reading about being smart in the sun and choosing your sunglasses wisely.


Hearing Protection

Protecting your hearing is essential, that’s why at Scrivens we offer a wide range of hearing protection, so you can ensure you never miss a thing.

You can also take advantage of our custom designed moulded earplugs, specifically made for you.