So Whats The Final Verdict Is Popping Your Ears Bad For You
Well, first, lets talk about what happens when you pop your ears:
A long, thin tube called the Eustachian tube connects the back of your nose and the middle ear . When you pop your ears, you are actually pushing air from your nose, up your Eustachian tube and behind your eardrums. This is why when air pressure suddenly changes for example in an airplane, popping your ears can help with that muffled feeling because it equalizes the pressure on both sides of the eardrum.
With this knowledge, there are two big reasons you may have heard that its bad to pop your ears.
One, because the Eustachian tube is connected to the nose, it is also in the presence of all the liquids and bacteria that exist inside your nose. While normally this isnt a problem, popping your ears when youre sick can push not only air, but also spit, snot and other unwanted liquids into your middle ear, increasing the risk of an ear infection.
Second, holding your nose and blowing out is the best way to pop your ears but if you arent careful, you can blow out your eardrums. This is especially a concern for people with damaged or weakened eardrums.
Popping your ears can open up your Eustachian tubes, but even if you dont pop them, your Eustachian tubes will also open naturally. In fact, they should open 6-10 times every minute!
If you are having trouble with your ears, give us a call at Arizona Hearing Center at 602-307-9919 so we can schedule a hearing test for you.
Care Advice For Ear Congestion
What Are Those Sounds In My Ear
Do you ever hear noises that appear to come from nowhere, such as crackling, buzzing or thumping? If you wear hearing aids, it can mean that they require adjustment or arent fitted properly. But if you dont wear hearing aids the noises are originating from inside your ear. You dont have to panic. Even though we usually think of our ears with respect to what we see on the outside, theres a lot more than what you see. Here are some of the more common sounds you may hear inside your ears, and what they may mean is going on. You should talk with a hearing specialist if any of these are lowering your quality of life or are painful and persistent, though most are short-term and harmless.
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Sinus Infections And Other Health Effects
Aside from ear pain and dizziness, a sinus infection can also cause temporary hearing loss. Sinus-related hearing loss occurs when the infection spreads to the ears, specifically the middle ear. Hearing can become affected if inflammation puts pressure on the ear drum. This inflammation can cause discharge of fluid and the build-up of fluid in the eardrum, which leads to pain and temporary hearing loss.
When the fluid and pressure are relieved the hearing loss will reverse, and you can go back to hearing how you previously did, prior to the infection. If the fluid does not drain commonly seen in children the continuous pressure can cause the eardrum to burst, which contributes to permanent hearing loss.
Its important to prevent sinus infections as well as treating them right away, so that you dont encounter any complications.
Other health complications that can stem from a sinus infection are headaches and throat problems, such as coughing or a sore throat.
Related: Natural treatments to unclog ears
Diagnosis Of Cleft Palate And Lip
Its possible for cleft palate and lip to be diagnosed while your baby is still in the womb through the use of an ultrasound. An ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of your baby inside your abdomen.
If your doctor discovers that your baby has a cleft palate or lip while in the womb, they may want to remove some of the amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby to have it tested for other genetic abnormalities, such as van der Woude syndrome.
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Changes In Altitude And Ear Pressure
There can be a pressure difference between the outside air and the environment within your middle ear space. Most of the time, the pressure in the middle ear is similar to the pressure outside of the ear. The difference is small enough that you dont experience any discomfort or sensations.
But, when you increase in altitude , then the outside air pressure decreases but the middle ear pressure remains the same. The changes cause the sealed air in the middle ear to expand.
As a result, pressure is placed on the eardrum. You will feel some discomfort and the desire to pop your ears. Some people find it harder to hear since the eardrum pressure affects the way sound is transmitted through the ears. This sensation often causes you to feel like your ears are plugged.
Idiopathic Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
In many patients there is no clear explanation why the eustachian tube does not open spontaneously. Since ETD may lead to other more serious issues, it is important to somehow restore function of the eustachian tube. Recurrent placement of ventilation tubes is an option. Another option is balloon eustachian tube dilation. In this procedure an endoscope is used to direct a catheter through the nose into the opening of the eustachian tube in the nasopharynx. This catheter has a balloon at the end. Once in position, the balloon is inflated. This has been shown to be effective at restoring function of the eustachian tube in most patients.
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Remedies For Plugged Ears
Methods for opening the Eustachian Tube, thus relieving clogged or plugged ears, include:
- The Toynbee maneuver
- The Valsalva maneuver
The goal is to allow the air pressure on both sides of the eardrum to equalize. If you hear a popping noise or experience a popping sensation, you have been successful in getting the Eustachian Tubes to open.
If ETD persists for a few days or is accompanied by other symptoms such as sudden changes in hearing, tinnitus, dizziness, vertigo, pain, fever, or drainage from the ear, you should see a physician as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment.
For more information regarding hearing or ear issues, consult with a hearing professional near you. To find one, or .
Treatment Of Cleft Palate And Lip
The treatment for your childs cleft palate or lip will depend on the severity of the condition. Treatment often involves several surgeries to close the opening and reconstruct the face.
A team of specialists may work with you and your child. For example, if your child has problems with speech because of their cleft, they might work with a speech pathologist. Your childs team may also include a plastic surgeon, an oral surgeon, and/or an orthodontist.
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Tinnitus & Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
One condition that can cause tinnitus is . Eustachian tubes are the small tubes that connect the ears to your upper throat. They are also responsible for the popping sensation you experience when you gain or lose altitude quickly, as they help regulate inner ear pressure. However, once the eustachian tubes are blocked or malfunctioning, it is more difficult for your ears to equalize air pressure and you may experience tinnitus, popping or cracking sounds, mild hearing loss, or problems with balance. For many people, treating eustachian tube dysfunction can alleviate tinnitus.
What Is The Anatomy Of Eustachian Tubes
The primary function of the Eustachian tube is to ventilate the middle ear space, ensuring that its pressure remains at near normal environmental air pressure. The secondary function of the Eustachian tube is to drain any accumulated secretions, infection, or debris from the middle ear space. Several small muscles located in the back of the throat and palate control the opening and closing of the Eustachian tube. Swallowing and yawning cause contractions of these muscles located in the back of the throat and help regulate Eustachian tube function. If it were not for the Eustachian tube, the middle ear cavity would be an isolated air pocket inside the head that would be vulnerable to every change in air pressure and lead to unhealthy middle ear space function.
If the Eustachian tube function worsens, air pressure in the middle ear falls, and the ear feels full and sounds are perceived as muffled. Eventually, a vacuum is created which can then cause fluid to be drawn down the Eustachian tube into the middle ear space . If the fluid becomes infected, the common ear infection develops.
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Symptoms Of Cleft Palate And Lip
In most cases, the split in the lip that is characteristic of a cleft is the most noticeable sign of the defect. Milk may come out of your babys nose while feeding because the barrier between the mouth and nose is abnormal. Its also possible for children with a cleft to have dental problems, such as missing teeth or having extra teeth.
A cleft palate can also trigger frequent middle ear infections and problems with your childs Eustachian tubes. These tubes help to drain fluid out of the ears and are responsible for making sure that the amount of pressure is equal on both sides of your eardrum. If your child has problems with ear infections and their Eustachian tubes dont drain properly, hearing loss can result.
Your child may also have problems with speech. This is more common in cases of cleft palate than in cases of cleft lip. Speech problems caused by a cleft are usually characterized by a nasal quality in the voice.
Ear Pressure Causes And Treatments
Keith Alexander, MD is board-certified in Otolaryngology. He provides services in adult and pediatric ear, nose and throat disorders, and treats allergy and sinus patients of all ages. He specializes in functional and cosmetic nasal surgery, including rhinoplasty. Dr. Alexander can be reached at 278-1114.
Lexington Clinic is Central Kentuckys largest and oldest medical group. With 180+ providers in more than 30 specialties, we have been taking care of 600,000+ visits annually in the Lexington community since 1920.
1221 South Broadway
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In The Air And Under Water
Each person is unique, and there isnt a specific altitude or pressure that will cause your ears to pop. It is common to need to pop your ears several times on a quick ascent because of the increasing pressure changes. On the other hand, a slow walk up the hill might not cause any noticeable changes to your ear pressure. This gradual ascent may cause your ears to equalize without you noticing the small adjustments.
This same phenomenon can happen underwater, which is why it is important for scuba divers to ascend and descend slowly. Ear equalization needs to happen throughout the dive. Some people feel pain or uncomfortable pressure by going down just a few feet, such as diving to the bottom of a swimming pool.
It doesnt matter whether you are in the air or the water it can be helpful to learn how to equalize your ears when you are feeling the pressure. Not only do you feel the need to pop your ears during the ascent, but the ears also need to readjust in the decent.
Sinus Pressure And Barometric Trauma
Nasal congestion from a severe cold, flu, or sinus infection can create abnormal pressure in the middle ear, impacting normal hearing and causing tinnitus symptoms.
Acute barotrauma, caused by extreme or rapid changes in air or water pressure, can also damage the middle and inner ear. Potential sources of barotrauma include:
- Diving / Snorkeling / Scuba
- Concussive explosive blasts
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In This Video Ross Hauser Md Discusses General Problems Of Ear Pain Ear Fullness Sound Sensitivity And Hearing Problems
Below is the transcript summary and explanatory notes:
- As the video starts, Dr. Hauser makes a connection between cervical spine/neck instability and cause problems related to the ear and hearing.
- Our website has numerous articles on hearing problems as they related to cervical spine instability and chronic neck pain and dysfunction. Each article is supported by updated medical research and citation. These articles include:
Ears Popping Too Often
My ears periodically pop, especially when Im nervous or talking. It is very frustrating and irritating. What causes this? Is the only way to clear it to sniff and then yawn or swallow?
Andrew Weil, M.D. | July 6, 2019
Ear popping is caused by pressure differences between the inside and outside of the eardrum. Air pressure in the middle ear usually is the same as that outside the body. Most people are familiar with the pressure changes that occur when you fly it is the most common medical problem among air travelers. It can also occur when you travel to high altitudes or dive underwater. Swallowing or yawning helps relieve the pressure by opening the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the nose and upper throat. This allows air to flow freely into or out of the middle ear and equalizes pressure on the eardrum.
While annoying, this problem usually isnt serious. Rarely, if it persists and worsens, it can lead to a perforated eardrum, an acute ear infection, or even loss of hearing. Be sure to see your doctor if you develop fever, severe ear pain, or drainage from an ear.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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How Does Air Pressure Affect The Ear
It is the middle ear that causes discomfort during air travel, because it is an air pocket inside the head that is vulnerable to changes in air pressure.
Normally, when you swallow your ears make a little click or popping sound. This occurs because a small bubble of air has entered your middle ear, up from the back of your nose. It passes through the Eustachian tube, a membrane-lined tube about the size of a pencil lead that connects the back of the nose with the middle ear. The air in the middle ear is constantly being absorbed by its membranous lining and resupplied through the Eustachian tube. In this manner, air pressure on both sides of the eardrum stays about equal. If and when the air pressure is not equal, the ear feels blocked.
Im Hearing A Snap Crackle And Pop In My Ears But Whats The Cause
We can tell you this its not Rice Krispies. Its not uncommon to hear a popping or crackling sound when the pressure in your ear changes. This can be because you had a change in altitude, went underwater, or just yawned. These noises are caused by a tiny part of your ear known as the eustachian tube. When these mucus lined passages open up to neutralize the air pressure, fluid, and air move causing these sounds to occur.
Its a natural process, but sometimes, like if you have congestion from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can actually get clogged up from an excess of mucus in your system . Medical assistance, like surgery, is occasionally called for in severe cases where nothing else has helped clear the blockage.
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Eustachian Tube Problems Related To Changes In Altitude
It is common for people who have Eustachian tube problems to have difficulty equalizing middle ear pressure when flying. Pressure changes occur rapidly during an airplanes takeoff and landing procedures: when an aircraft takes off, the atmospheric pressure decreases, increasing middle ear air pressure. When it descends, atmospheric pressure increases, decreasing middle ear pressure. Discomfort is more commonly felt as a plane lands, but can be uncomfortable at any point in a flight if the cabin pressure changes.
There are many ways people can prevent Eustachian tube problems associated with flying, including:
NOTE: Patients who have had a middle ear ventilation tube placed in their eardrum should not need to follow any of these precautions.