Clearing Your Ears

Did you know that your ears are connected to your throat?

Your middle ear is a sealed chamber containing tiny bones that transmit sounds to the nerves in your inner ear. When the pressure outside your body changes (like when you drive up a high mountain, or like when the cabin pressure in an airplane changes), a valve in your eustachian tubes opens, and the pressure is equalized. Many people reccomend swallowing or blowing while holding your nose to clear your ears if you have trouble…That’s because your sinuses are connected to your eustachian tube. When your sinuses are blocked, or irritated, your eustachian tubes can become blocked as well. This is why sinus medication can help you clear your ears. I promise this is true; it is not that I don’t know my nose from my ear! Antihistamines (Chlophenarimine, Entex, ternafdine (Seldane) )will help, and you should take these with you if you have to fly with a cold or allergies.

If you have a lot of trouble clearing your ears all the time, try this:

  • Practice! Divers LEARN to clear their ears with practice; we are simply conscious of the part of our body that opens the Eustacian tubes, like other people are conscious of their fingers. Try to clear your ears a few times every now and again by blowing gently while holding your nose.
  • Go ahead and try the old standbys, chewing gum and holding your nose and blowing. These usually work if you keep at it.
  • FOR THE DIVER: Same for you, only more important since failure to clear your ears could result in eardrum damage. But WATCH OUT! DO NOT TAKE an antihistamine that makes you sleepy! You will get “narced” more easily and have other judgement and performance problems. If you have congestion, take ternafdine (Seldane), or Entex, which don’t make you sleepy.