What happens when your ears pop and your hearing suddenly seems to get a lot better?

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What happens when your ears pop and your hearing suddenly seems to get a lot better?

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The pressure is equalizing on both sides of your ear drum, which makes it easier for it to vibrate and transmit sounds.

Sounds is pressure (usually air) moving from positive (a pumped up supersoaker) to negative (a plunger sucking). When the space in your ear has a different pressure to the surroundings, you are limiting the movement of pressure from positive to negative. Kinda like putting your finger on a moving speaker and hearing the volume drop in level. Your ear pops from a little tube that is attached to the back of your throat called an Eustachian tube.

Your head has a small tube from the back of the throat to behind the eardrum (the eustscian tube). This equalizes air pressure on the drum. But it is small and kinks off and gets clogged. When you go up in a plane, the pressure drops, but the tube may not open just right away, so the the cavity behind the drum bulges out (being still at the higher pressure). When your ear “pops”, the air has moved thru the tube and the pressure abruptly equalizes, and the drum flattens (which we “hear” like a sound wave.

That’s why chewing gum, or blowing your nose helps. It moves things around and opens the tube.

Babies, because of their facial shape, have a harder time opening the tube. Hence crying babies on planes. Colds also gum it up.