How to Unclog the Eustachian Tube

by | Feb 6, 2023 | News

Your ears can feel stopped up when there is an imbalance in pressure or inflammation in the eustachian tube, the narrow passageway that extends from the middle ear to the throat. Resultantly, you may experience a continuous feeling of congestion or discomfort in one or both ears. Hearing problems may also occur. Here are some different ways to unclog your ears that could provide fast relief.

Opening the Eustachian Tube Naturally By Chewing and Yawning

Your eustachian tubes are not open the majority of the time. They open and close as small muscles around your throat relax and contract. Opening and closing your jaw prompts them to open up a little, which is why chewing can sometimes help to alleviate clogged ears when you are flying. The popping sensation when you change altitudes occurs when air entering or exiting the middle ear causes your eardrum to move.

Yawning is another excellent way to open up the middle ear. As you inhale deeply, your throat relaxes so you can take in as much air as possible. At the same time, the eustachian tube relaxes and expands, giving trapped air a chance to get out. 

Forcing Air Into the Ears 

If yawning and chewing do not relieve pressure, the next thing to try is pushing air into your ear forcefully. You can do this by closing your mouth, pinching your nose shut, and exhaling powerfully. The pressure from a forceful exhalation may open up your ear.


Try massaging the mastoid bone by gently pressing and rubbing the bony ridges of your skull behind your earlobes. This will loosen your jaw and cause the muscles and other soft tissue in that area to relax. Even if you are having a problem in just one ear, massage behind both ears at the same time to maximize the effect. 

Sinus and Allergy Treatments

Allergens and illnesses can cause irritation in your throat and ears that interferes with the normal activity of your eustachian tube. When the tube is swollen, your ear cannot expel air, wax, or liquids. Taking an antihistamine may alleviate uncomfortable pressure and inflammation. A humidifier or steam from a hot shower will soothe an inflamed throat and loosen mucus. Steamy air may also help to release pressure and drain liquids by relaxing the muscles around the ear.

Dilation of the Eustachian Tube

If you have been experiencing chronic congestion in your eustachian tube and home remedies have not been effective, a treating physician may recommend dilation. Doctors dilate this part of the ear by inserting a small, balloon-like medical device into a patient’s nasal cavity and inflating it to gently increase the circumference of the passageway. This treatment can help individuals with persistent pain or hearing problems due to Eustachian Tube Disorder, a condition impeding the functionality of the tubes’ built-in valves.

If you have been suffering from a persistent blockage in your ear, HEAR Center can help. Our clinical team has extensive experience helping patients safeguard their hearing. We offer both pediatric care as well as audiology services for adults. Contact HEAR Center today to schedule an examination.  

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