How to Equalize Ear Pressure

Difference in ear pressure can be very painful and normally occurs while we are travelling in an aeroplane.  Divers can also experience this when they move deeper into the water, and the phenomenon is also common among naval submariners.

The feeling arises when there is air pressure differential between the inside and outside of the ear drum. Our ear is designed in a way that there is small air pocket behind the ear drum which is connected directly to the nasal cavity via the Eustachian tube. This tube regulates the air pressure in this ear drum when the outside pressure decreases or increases, and it is important that it remains open and active. There are however many factors which prevent it from activating, cold, flue and ear infection being some of the few. Despite that, there are many ways in which we can equalize the ear pressure and rid ourselves of the nasty feeling.


  • 1


    The simplest way to get a relief is to yawn. The mouth opening action allows a greater passage for the air to go into the nasal tube.

  • 2

    Chew a gum

    The chewing action also facilitates the passage of air into the Eustachian tube and thus restoring the pressure equilibrium on both sides of ear drum.

  • 3

    Valsalva manoeuvre

    This is a very effective method for neutralizing the ear pressure. Take a deep breath and then don’t allow the air to escape the system. This can be done by pinching the nose and closing the mouth. The air will naturally go to the next easiest path and that is the Eustachian tube. This exercise should be done every few minutes.

  • 4

    Use prescribed drugs and nasal sprays

    Antihistamine and nasal sprays can also be used to control the amount of mucus produced by the nasal cavity. The mucus can act as a hindrance to the air passage into the inner side of the ear drum. Avoid using these drugs without proper medical prescription.

  • 5

    Air pressure regulating ear plugs

    These plugs regulate the pressure of the air outside the ear drum and ensure that there is no pressure differential. The best part is that they are inexpensive, readily available and come with proper instructions. The basic one is that they should be worn once the doors of the plane have been closed.

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