You may feel discomfort in your ears when the airplane you're on takes off and lands. You might have the same feeling when you go underwater diving or simply climb a mountain. What causes this sudden uncomfortable (especially for children) sensation? The air pressure inside your eardrum is normally the same as that outside your eardrum. Under normal circumstances, whenever the air pressure around you suddenly changes, like when flying, diving or climbing, the pressure inside your ear cavity changes with it. However, sometimes this doesn't happen, and the difference in pressure between the inside and the outside of your ear causes the uncomfortable feeling. You can remedy the situation by popping open the Eustachian tube that leads into the middle ear. This equalizes the pressure difference and your ears "pop" open. Hear are some ways to open the Eustachian tubes.

  • Swallowing and chewing Try sucking on a candy or anything else that will make you swallow repeatedly. This will help unclog the tubes. Chewing gum, or just making a chewing motion with your mouth, may also relieve the pain.
  • YawningOpening your mouth wide and closing it stretches and opens the tubes.
  • Pinching your nostrils Pinch your nostrils closed and take a deep breath through your mouth and hold it as you keep your mouth closed. Now using your cheek and throat muscles forcefully -- but not too forcefully -- push the air up into the back of your nose. You may have to repeat this technique several times until you get your ears to pop.