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Ear Popping And Chewing Gum  
User currently offlineCritter_592 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 279 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3720 times:

With the advanced technology do passengers still need to chew gum to keep their ears from "popping"? Its been about 10 years since I last flew.

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineBlink182 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 5492 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (13 years 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3681 times:

I do, and so do a lot of people(i think). Personally, I don't really understand what the real difference is between chewing and not chewing.


Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
User currently offlineAfay1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 1293 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (13 years 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3648 times:

I know the physics reasons why one's ears "pop" or feel pressure, but anecdotally, American's A300-600's do it to me every time; ear splitting pain. I have no idea why, it just always happens to me. It must have to do with the kind of pressurization systems on various model's of planes coupled with the sensitivity of the tympanic membrane of an individual. Anyone else have a more scientific explanation?

User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (13 years 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3641 times:

Chewing gum helps flex and bend the tubes that go to your inner ear to equalize pressure. It eases the transport of air in these quite tight tubes.

User currently offlineAndreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 30
Reply 4, posted (13 years 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3625 times:

For me, using a spray to open up the sinuses is the way to go.
It happens sometimes to me, too, the pain is really bad for a few minutes, but never on large aircraft, such as the A300 or bigger, but mostly on B737, curiously enough, not on A319, though it's the same size.

I know it's only VfB but I like it!
User currently offlineLMML 14/32 From Malta, joined Jan 2001, 2565 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (13 years 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3617 times:

Advanced technology has not yet reached the human ear. I guess that we humans were not supposed to fly !! As the saying goes If God meant for us to fly He would have given us wings !! And ears to go ........

But seriously. Ever heard of the "hot towel in a cup" technique? You wet some hot tissue with hot water, squeeze the excess water out and put in a plastic cup. Then seal the cup around your ear and hold it like that all thru the descent. Do the same for both ears. It is supposed to ease the pain by differentiating the pressure slower than the cabin rate of climb. I never tried it on myself, but have done it to pax who all said it worked.

User currently offlineIkarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (13 years 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3602 times:

My personal experience: Use some nasal decongestant tablets or sprays. My parents swear on "ear planes" - some small ear plugs that claim to reduce the rate of pressure difference, thereby making it more bearable.

But on the whole, my ears have improved very much since I was a kid. Now I only really feel it if I have a slight cold - but then all the pain and agony is back with a vengeance, and last time I couldn't hear much on my left ear for almost 2 days.

I could not find any difference between plane types, though. Only once did I have the impression that a Canada3000 A330 pilot descended rather more quickly than usual (from cruise to landing in less than 15 minutes - usually most airliners I've been on take 30 minutes or so). But apart from that, all planes feel the same to me and my ears.

I don't believe pressurization technology has advanced very much in the past 10 years. Only airline services have lowered. They no longer hand out chewing gums or candy prior to takeoff and landing (Virgin Atlantic being the commendable exception)



User currently offlineJetService From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 4798 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (13 years 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3599 times:

If you can induce a yawn, it take all the pain away. Much better than gum.

"Shaddap you!"
User currently offlineBWIrwy4 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 940 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (13 years 1 day ago) and read 3592 times:

Go scuba diving. Eventually you'll get used to popping ears and you'll barely notice it anymore.

User currently offlineB737-700 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (13 years 23 hours ago) and read 3578 times:

Yawn or gulp. That helps.

User currently offlineLt-AWACS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (13 years 17 hours ago) and read 3553 times:

Learn to ValSalva. Hold your nose and pop your ears. In the Air Force we are DNIF (i.e. Grounded) if we cannot do that and clear both ears. The Flight doc can even watch in your ear while you do it.

As a backup I carry Afrin which will get you down, but won't get you up. SO pain on takeoff is a bad thing. If we use affrin on a mission we are grounded/DNIf until the problem is figured out.

Yawning is another way as is eating, chewing gum etc to 'pop' the ears. Just do what works, use sprays as a last resort, as they effect the vessels in your nose and sinuses.


User currently offlineRen41 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1524 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (13 years 17 hours ago) and read 3544 times:

I always chew gum and it rarely helps, so I make big gulps and yawn a lot...thats the best way to get rid of the pain.


User currently offlineCritter_592 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 279 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (13 years 17 hours ago) and read 3541 times:

Thanks for the responses.

User currently offlineScottb From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6893 posts, RR: 32
Reply 13, posted (13 years 16 hours ago) and read 3536 times:

Basically the jaw motion is what helps to open up the Eustachian tube (the passage from the throat to the middle ear), thus allowing the middle ear pressure adjust to the ambient pressure. You can get more-or-less the same effect by just moving your jaw around.

BWIrwy4 is right about scuba diving being a way to learn to equalize at will - I can pretty much manage it at any time, unless I have severe congestion. Lt-AWACS is also right - but don't blow too hard...

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