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Ear unclogging from high altitudes

Alternative names

High altitudes and ear unclogging; Flying and ear unclogging


How do you unclog blocked ears when descending from high altitudes?

Yawning and swallowing usually work fairly well. Chewing gum the entire time you are changing altitudes helps by causing you to swallow frequently and can prevent you from getting blocked ears in the first place.

People who consistently experience this problem when flying may consider taking a decongestant about an hour before the flight leaves.

If your ears are blocked, try inhaling, then gently exhaling while holding the nostrils closed and the mouth shut. If this is done too forcefully, it can cause ear infections by forcing bacteria into the ear canals. A perforation (hole) in your eardrum can result if you blow too hard. See barotrauma .

Update Date: 5/17/2003

Bridget Martell, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT