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Ear Popping Prevention


To help reduce your chances of getting barotrauma, take the following steps:


  • Postpone your flight if you have a cold or are congested.
  • When flying in an airplane, especially during take-off and landing, do things that will help keep the eustachian tube open to relieve the pressure. Things you can do include:
    • Suck candy
    • Chew gum
    • Yawn
    • Breath with mouth open
  • When flying, avoid sleeping during descent because you may not be swallowing enough.
  • Get filtered earplugs. These special earplugs slowly equalize the air pressure against your eardrum.
  • For babies on airplanes, have them suck on a bottle or pacifier; do not let the baby sleep during descent.
  • Take a decongestant pill or nasal spray before the start of the flight to shrink the membranes in the eustachian tube. This will help make your ears pop more easily.
  • If you are particularly prone to barotraumas, your doctor may suggest having tubes surgically placed in your eardrums to help balance the pressure and prevent the condition.

Scuba Diving

  • Be properly trained.
  • Be in good health before diving.
  • Make sure all your equipment is working properly.
  • Go down and come up slowly in the water when scuba diving. The United States Navy Diving Manual provides guidelines for how often you should stop during your ascent (called decompression stops) and how slowly you should make your ascent.
  • Take a decongestant pill or nasal spray a little before diving to unblock you eustachian tubes, nose, or sinuses.
  • To prevent pulmonary barotrauma, do not hold your breath during ascent (going up).
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Exhale freely when diving, even in shallow waters of a swimming pool, while ascending to the surface.
  • Don’t dive as deep.
  • Don’t stay under the water at greater depths for so long.
  • Avoid flying or going to a higher altitude for the next 24 hours after diving.
  • Know the location of the nearest recompression chamber.
  • Check your dry suit and your facial mask to make sure your equipment is properly vented and your equipment isn’t causing any air to be trapped against the skin.
  • Never hold your breath while breathing compressed gas and ascending.
  • Never dive alone.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2022 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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