What can you do to open up your ears if they are blocked?

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If you find that your ears are blocked, especially due to factors like a cold, sore throat, allergies, or even after a flight, there’s a simple technique you can try to relieve that discomfort – the Valsalva Maneuver. The Valsalva Maneuver is an age-old method for unblocking your ears. Here’s how it’s done: close your mouth, pinch your nostrils tightly, and then inflate your cheeks while gently applying pressure towards your ears. You might hear a crackling sound, and soon enough, your ear should open up.

However, it’s crucial to exercise caution when attempting this method:

  • Avoid applying excessive pressure.
  • Refrain from using this maneuver if you have severely infected sinuses.
  • Don’t overdo it or repeat the process excessively.
  • If the Valsalva Maneuver doesn’t provide relief, there might be another underlying cause for your ear blockage. In such cases, it’s advisable to seek an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist for a check-up.

During an ENT check-up, your ears will be examined, and you might undergo some simple tests like Audiogram Impedance Audiometry to assess the middle ear’s function.

To understand the background of this issue, it’s important to know about the Eustachian Tube. This narrow tube connects the back of your nose with the middle ear, remaining open at both ends. Its role is to maintain the middle ear’s air supply. Sometimes, due to conditions like a severe cold, nasal allergies, sore throat, tonsillitis, or adenoid enlargement, the Eustachian Tube can become blocked by mucus or inflammation. When this occurs, the air within the middle ear gets absorbed, creating negative pressure that pulls the eardrum inward, towards the middle ear.