There’s one great equalizer that everybody in the airplane cabin, from baby in the back to businessman flying first class, must endure: the ear pop.

ear drum

Blame that pop on the Eustachian Tube. It’s a structure that connects the middle ear to the space between the back of your nose and your throat (nasopharynx, to be technical). This tube opens and closes throughout the day to regulate pressure inside the body, but we feel it most in situations like scuba diving or airplane takeoff. During these “pressure phenomena,” the Eustachian Tube opens and closes to equalize the pressure between middle ear and the outside world. The way it does that is through a transfer of air through the eustachian tube. So, your time-tested techniques of chewing gum or plugging your nose and blowing out your ears are actually just techniques to get your Eustachian Tube pumping out air by opening and closing the hole.

Is it possible to pop your ears?

It is possible to build up so much pressure that you blow a hole in your ear drum. But to get to this point you really have to work at trying to pop your ears.

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