What is actually happening when your ears pop?



What is actually happening when your ears pop?

In: Biology

pressure inside your ears is equalizing with the barometric pressure outside. I explain it like two squishy balls. You got one inside a tube, and one outside the tube tryna get in. Well, to get that one that is outside, in the tube, they have to squeeze around each other until the one that was inside pops out, and is replaced by the one that was outside.

Behind your ear there is a little drainage tube called the Eustachian Tube.

This little tube is typically not open like a pipe, but compressed flat like a floppy hose. When you’re in a situation where the tiny amount of air behind your ear drum is under pressure (positive or negative pressure) you can perform some action (chewing hard, swallowing, holding your nose and trying to blow out of it, etc.) which forces air up the Eustachian tube, opening it and letting air either out or in to equalize the pressure in that pocket of air trapped behind your ear.

If your ears pop naturally (like on a plane) it’s because as you go up in altitude, the pressure drops, but the air behind your ear was put there under higher pressure, so now it’s trying to expand and take up more volume. Once it expands too much, it forces itself down the Eustachian tube and you hear a little “pop” noise as this occurs.

If the pressure is instead due to FLUID behind the ear, then (since liquid’s aren’t compressible) you can’t really regulate it by manipulating your Eustachian tube, and must either wait for the fluid to naturally drain or dry, or a doctor will have to perform some procedure to remove the fluid.

**Your submission has been removed for the following reason(s):**

Please search before submitting.

This question has already been asked on ELI5 multiple times.

If you need help searching, please refer to the [Wiki](https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/wiki/how_to_search).