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What are the Best Tips for Ear Pressure Relief?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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The best method for ear pressure relief depends on the root cause of the discomfort. Ear pressure often builds up due to a rapid ascent or descent in a plane, or changing weather. This type of ear pressure commonly sees immediate relief through cracking of the jaw or the chewing of gum. If the discomfort is being caused by congestion or an ear infection, the best way to get ear pressure relief can be to treat the the specific condition. Removing the source of the problem can release the pressure and alleviate any associated discomfort.

One common source of ear discomfort is the cabin pressure associated with flying. A rapid ascent or descent can result in a pressure difference between the inner ear and the local environment. This may result in a feeling of congestion, ear fullness, or even pain. One way to equalize the pressure is to move the jaw from side to side. If this does not work, dropping the jaw or chewing gum often achieves the desired effect.

Another way to equalize ear pressure is yawning deeply. This may work due to the fact that deep yawns can result in opening the jaw very wide, which may force open the Eustachian tubes. If this does not work, another way to achieve ear pressure relief is to close the mouth, block the nose, and then blow very gently. It is important not to blow too hard in this manner, though if done correctly a slight popping sound will be heard.

Other methods that involve the manual manipulation of the ear or surrounding tissues can also sometimes lead to relief. Gently tugging on the earlobe may allow the Eustachian tubes to drain, as may massaging the area behind the ears. Another option to try involves running warm water over a washcloth and then placing it in a pliable plastic cup. The cup may then be pressed over the ear, and the heat from the washcloth may lead to ear pressure relief.

If the pressure is being caused by a sinus or ear infection, then the only way to get ear pressure relief may be to treat the cause. In the case of a sinus infection, a nasal decongestant or an antihistamine may help. The sinuses may also be cleaned out using a saltwater wash and an apparatus known as a neti pot. Ear infections may require antibiotics, though they can sometimes be managed with home remedies. A few drops of warm oil can sometimes help with an ear infection and may lead to relief.

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Discussion Comments
By discographer — On Aug 06, 2013

Several drops of warm olive oil in each ear relieves pressure and ear pain. It also helps remove any water or excess wax! I do this for my kids all the time, it works like a charm!

By ddljohn — On Aug 05, 2013

@burcidi-- I have trouble with ear pressure during flights too. My ENT doctor told me to chew gum during flights, especially when the plane is taking off and landing.

He also told me to use a nasal spray. I'm not sure how the nasal spray works, but it does make a difference. I think saline solution is able to re-balance ear pressure.

I use the nasal spray whenever I feel the need during flights and along with chewing gum, it relieves my ear pressure and pain completely.

By burcidi — On Aug 05, 2013

My mom's friend is a nurse and she was the one who showed me how to relieve ear pressure by closing my mouth and nose and blowing. I'm so glad I know this method. It has saved me from painful ear pressure so many times when I'm in planes or the subway.

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