swallow ears pop

swallow ears pop


Whether a person  is taking off in an airplane or going through a deep tunnel on a train or metro , most people experience swallow ear pop at one time or another.

During swallowing especially ear popping can be heard, despite not being a major cause for any serious concern, ear popping is still usually problematic for sufferers in particular when it’s constant. It’s also important to keep in mind that regular, frequent episodes of ear popping can signal towards a variety of underlying ear conditions which can be serious sometimes.

Therefore, one should take steps to ensure that ear popping is treated by a Doctor  specialist soon as possible to avoid future damage to the ear which can be permanent in some cases. Down I have listed all the causes of swallow ear pops and the mode of treatment and other things keep reading.


What causes the swallow ears pop?

When to see a doctor for swallow ears pop ?

What are the treatment tips for swallow ears pop?

What are the tips for prevention of swallow ear pop?



What causes the swallow ears pop?

There are a number of things which can lead a person to experience a swallow ear pops or crackling sound in the ears. The following described below are the 5 most common causes of swallow ear pops:

  • Eustachian tube dysfunction

Eustachian tube dysfunction  is a very common condition, typically  results due to a cough or the due to common cold, where the tubes connecting the ear to the nose do not function normally and optimally which can cause the ears to pop even while swallowing.

These Blocked Eustachian tubes can also lead to pain, hearing difficulties, and some feeling of fullness in the ears.

The eustachian tube as mentioned above connects the middle ear that is the space behind the ear drum with the nose, this tube equalises the pressure in the middle ear and allows air to enter, this is its main function and to do this, it periodically opens mostly while swallowing, yawning or blowing the nose.

It creates  a pop or a crack sound in the ear when it does this and which is normal, but sometimes the Eustachian tube becomes blocked by some issue , for example if a person has cold and then mucous fills the tube.

This way air pressure is unable to equalise and the outcome is a build-up of pressure in it, this combination of trapped mucous and pressure leads to a crackling or popping sound when a person talks, swallows or blows the nose.

These blocked  tubes can often also lead to pain, hearing difficulties, and some feeling of fullness in the affected ear. The Eustachian is a tube and it periodically opens mostly during  swallowing, yawning or sometimes during blowing the nose.

It leads to  a pop or a crack noise in the ear when it does this thing it's normal, however sometimes the this tube becomes blocked by some thing, like if a person gets cold and then the mucous fills the tube which can lead to blockage as explained above

  • Acute otitis media

AOM is an infection of middle ear which can lead  a person to experience a popping or crackling noise while swallowing or during eating.

ETD often contributes or we can say adds up to the development of acute otitis media, as fluid can accumulate in the middle ear while the tubes are blocked and this then leads to infection. Acute otitis media leads to popping through a build up of infected fluid and also sometimes from poor ventilation of the middle ear which becomes infected , the most common causes are viral, although there are chance's of bacterial infections too .

Any person  can develop a middle ear infection, however babies and young children tend to be more susceptible to acute otitis media.

  • Earwax build up

This is a very common issue which can cause unusual popping or crackling noises in the ears even during swallowing. 

All ears build up wax, which is normal but some ears are more efficient at clearing this wax hence they do not accumulate it.

However In some ears the wax builds up as they are not that efficient to clear it up which causes an obstruction of the ear canal, that can cause it to crackle or pop . This is  commonly the sound of the wax that's there sitting accumulated .

Earwax build up mostly occurs when a person uses a cotton bud to clear out their ears but actually unintentionally ends up pushing the earwax deeper into the ear canal, creating a blockage and leading to popping.

  • Temporomandibular joint disorders

Temporomandibular joint disorders also called TMJ disorders refer to an issue which is associated with the jaw joint, that articulates within the ears.

It can either be an issue with the ligaments and muscles present in the area or of the joint or it can occasionally be the bony articulations themselves, some what like arthritis of the jaw joint.

This crackles when a person opens and closes the mouth as the movement leads to friction and sounds to be transmitted to the ears where the popping sound can be heard.

  • Middle ear myoclonus

Middle ear myoclonus this is MEM is some rare type of tinnitus which is commonly characterised by a tapping sound, that is caused by involuntary contractions of the muscles present within the middle ear.

There are two muscles present that can be affected: stapedius and tensor tympani as they usually arise in response to loud noises but can also be spontaneous.

However they two tend to cause the tapping sound rather than crackling or popping sounds.


When to see a doctor for swallow ears pop ?

Occasional popping or we can say crackling in the ears is normal, however there are certain situations where a person should see his or her doctor for a proper assessment.

Make sure to have an appointment with the doctor if any of the following takes place :

  • If the symptoms have persisted for more than a few weeks
  • If one experiences dizziness
  • If one feels nauseous
  • If one has a high temperature
  • If one has blood stained or smelly discharge from the ear or from the nose.
  • If one has  sudden onset or rapidly worsening hearing loss


What are the treatment tips for swallow ears pop?

The mode of treatment depends on the cause, however popping ear is mostly  treatable with over-the-counter remedies very easily.

The following are some treatment tips for swallow ears pop :

  • Forced exhalation : person should try to pop the ears with a very forced exhalation and with closed mouth and nostrils.
  • Nasal decongestant : person should try to take a short course of nasal decongestant for some days or up to one week.
  • Nasal steroid spray : person should try to take a longer course of nasal steroid spray.
  • Grommet insertion : in this case it's a must to speak to the doctor about grommet insertion. Grommets are very tiny tubes which can be inserted into the eardrums for the treatment of certain conditions.
  • Endoscopic balloon dilatation : the doctor might also consider this procedure that is endoscopic balloon dilatation. This procedure involves having a balloon inserted into the nose and then inflated in order to open up the Eustachian tube to  resolve the clogged ears.


What are the tips for prevention of swallow ear pop?

The tips to prevent crackling or popping of ears, one can try the following five prevention tips:

  • Stay healthy: the best prevention as always is staying healthy, person should eat  five-a-day, exercise regularly, and wash hands frequently , try to avoid sick people to stay in good health
  • Quit smoking: smoking can easily  lead to or even exacerbate ETD so person should try to quit this habit .
  • Sidestep cotton buds: its a sticker for many , using cotton buds to clear the earwax build up out can create a blockage as it can push it further inside so ditch the buds and let the ear clean the wax itself.
  • Use the ear protection: if a person is going to a loud concert or work where there is noisy environment, it's better for him to invest in some quality ear protection so to prevent serious ear damage.
  • Avoid allergens: if a person is susceptible to hay fever or have any allergies in particular , he should avoid the triggers to minimise the chances of ETD as it can lead to ear popping.


The bottom line

The popping or crackling noise in the ears is likely due to a pressure equalisation and the movement of the ear drum, and is  mostly nothing serious or anything to worry about.

Swallow ears pop can have many causes as mentioned above, this can affect the hearing capability of a person but most often person recovers over a few days or weeks after the proper care and treatment.

This swallow pop can be present for few days or in some cases for weeks  however 'It can even last for years for a small proportion of people who have  permanent damage to the ear drum .'

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