How Come When I Workout My Ears Pop?

Have you ever wondered why your ears pop when you workout? It turns out that there’s a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. Read on to learn more!


Are you wondering why your ears pop when you work out? You’re not alone. Many people experience this phenomenon and it’s actually quite common. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why your ears may pop when you exercise or perform physical activities. We will provide information on how to prevent it in the future and how to take care of yourself if your ears do start popping when you work out. So keep reading and learn more about why your ears may pop when you exercise, and what to do about it!

Causes of Ear Popping

Have you ever noticed that when you exercise or make an intense movement, your ears sometimes pop? This phenomenon is quite common and can be a bit disconcerting to many. It is usually caused by a buildup of pressure in the inner ear due to changes in air pressure or fluid levels. Let’s take a closer look at what may be causing your ears to pop.

Changes in Altitude

Changes in altitude are a common cause of ear popping. When you go up or down in elevation, the pressure in your middle ear — inside your eardrum — needs to be equalized with the pressure outside your eardrum. To accomplish this, air passes through small tubes called Eustachian tubes that connect the middle ear to the back of your nose and throat. If those tubes become blocked, like during a cold or allergies, air can’t easily pass through and that creates a build-up of pressure in your ear. That’s what causes that uncomfortable feeling of fullness in your ears along with pain, muffled hearing and even dizziness as air continuously pushes against the eardrum membrane.

The same thing can happen with extreme changes in altitude if it happens too quickly for these Eustachian tubes to adjust naturally on their own — like when going up or down a mountain quickly or when landing in an airplane. Even exercise itself can cause changes in altitude – especially strength training while squatting down -so you might feel that discomfort if you continue to work out without giving those Eustachian tubes enough time to adjust naturally. Listen to what your body is telling you – if it feels uncomfortable -especially beyond just feeling ‘stretched’, then stop and let some time pass before continuing with your workout.

Changes in Air Pressure

Air pressure changes are often the cause of ear popping. Barometric pressure, which is the atmospheric pressure at a given point, can cause changes in air pressure inside the inner ear canal. The most common cause of this is sudden increases or decreases in altitude when traveling in an airplane or other vehicle. When the air pressure outside of the body changes more quickly than it can adapt to, you will experience some discomfort as your ears pop.

However, even everyday activities such as inhaling during physical exertion like exercise can cause an increase in air pressure in your middle ear resulting in a popping sensation. This is especially noticeable during activities that require long periods of deep inhaling such as running and jumping, where air pressure builds up faster than it can be released through your Eustachian tubes. Inhaling deeply during these exercises can increase the likelihood of “ear popping” if there is not enough space for the extra and displaced air to escape from your inner ear canal.


Swallowing is one of the most common causes of ear popping. As you swallow, the eustachian tubes in your middle ear open and shift air pressure inside your ears to match changes in the surrounding atmosphere. Such pressure equalization can give you a short “popping” sensation. Swallowing is also a useful way to normalize pressure if your ears feel clogged or muffled after a flight or dive. When we exercise, we tend to breathe heavily and quickly due to an increased heart rate, thus increasing the rate of swallowing, which increases the chances that our ears will pop due to this process.

Jaw Movement

Jaw movement is a common cause of ear-popping sensations when exercising. This happens due to changes in barometric pressure in the Eustachian tube that helps connect the middle ear with the back of your nose and throat. When you move your jaw during exercise, it can cause air to travel quickly to and from the Eustachian tube, resulting in a popping sensation in your ears. Other jaw movements such as chewing gum, yawning, blowing your nose, or even swallowing too hard can also have the same effect. Additionally, singing and talking with a lowered jaw position can put extra pressure on the Eustachian tube and lead to ear popping. Some people may find that wearing an exercise headband or other supportive headgear when exercising will help ease this sensation.

Blocked Eustachian Tubes

When the Eustachian tubes are blocked, such as due to swelling from allergies or other irritants in the environment, the pressure that is built up in the middle ear can cause a feeling of fullness or popping in the ears. This is typically associated with yawning, laughing, and activities such as flying in an airplane or exercising which can cause changes in air pressure around the ears. The swollen tubes cannot open easily to allow the air pressure to be properly equalized on both sides of your eardrum. Such blockage of Eustachian tubes can trigger ear popping. Other causes of blocked Eustachian tubes include colds, sinus infections and nasal allergies that cause nasal congestion. Bony growths in Eustachian tube may also prevent it from opening properly. In order to manage ear popping caused by blocked Eustachian tubes, people should avoid allergens and decongestant medications may help open up the blockage as well as treat any underlying infection causing congestion. If sinusitis is identified, antibiotics may need to be prescribed for a complete cure. Ear Popping caused by blocked Eustachian Tubes usually resolves itself over time once any underlying causes has been properly treated and managed.

Preventing Ear Popping During Exercise

Ears popping during exercise is a common issue for many people. This is often caused by changes in air pressure in the inner ear and can cause discomfort. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to prevent your ears from popping while working out. Let’s take a look at some of these steps and how they can help you prevent ear popping during exercise.

Swallow Frequently

Swallowing often can help relieve air pressure when you’re working out and doing cardio. This is because the act of swallowing helps to equalize the pressure buildup in your ears. By swallowing frequently, you are pushing air up your eustachian tubes, which helps to open them up. Additionally, it might help to chew gum while exercising to aid in clearing your ears.

In addition to this, wearing ear plugs or using specialized noise cancelling headphones while exercising can also be helpful as they reduce the amount of sound that reaches the inner ear and thus reduce the changes in air pressure inside as a result. However, using these accessories should be done along with other methods such as frequent swallowing and avoiding sudden, extreme movements at a high intensity to better protect your ears during exercise.

Take Breaks to Equalize Pressure

Ear popping is a common side effect of exercise, especially when you’re in higher altitudes or diving deep into the ocean. The changes in air pressure around your body can cause the Eustachian tubes to become blocked, thus causing a feeling similar to that of pain or discomfort in your ears. To help equalize the pressure and reduce ear popping during exercise, it is important to take breaks and gain relief from the changing pressure.

When exercising outdoors, try to find areas where there are less frequent changes in elevation. If you do encounter steep inclines or declines, be sure to pause for a few seconds every few minutes and allow yourself time to equalize the pressure within your ears by yawning or swallowing multiple times.

If you are exercising underwater – whether at a pool or deep into an ocean – make sure decompression breaks in between bouts of physical activity. This will allow proper oxygenation that prevents any extreme cases of ear imbalance from occurring.

If you are experiencing severe levels of ear discomfort due to air pressure while exercising, it may be beneficial to seek out medications such as nasal sprays which can be found over-the-counter at drug stores. However, it is always best to talk to your healthcare provider before consuming any medication as some of these products may interfere with existing conditions and other medications already present in your system.

Use Nasal Spray or Decongestant

Using a nasal spray or decongestant is a way to reduce the pressure in the Eustachian tubes and help to ease ear popping during exercise. Nasal congestion can be caused by allergies, sinus infections, or colds and can block proper air flow through the Eustachian tube making exercise difficult. Decongestants help to open up the airways, increasing the flow of oxygen.

Decongestants come in many forms including: oral tablets, liquid forms, nasal sprays and drops. To provide effective relief from congestion they need to be taken at regular intervals as indicated by your doctor or pharmacist (generally every 8-12 hours). When using a sprays, make sure that it is an FDA approved product because many of them have not been tested for safety and effectiveness.

In addition to being used as a decongestant, nasal sprays can also be used for other conditions such as asthma or rhinitis. There are several types of nasal sprays (i.e. corticosteroids, antihistamines) so make sure you speak with your doctor on what type would best fit your needs in relieving ear popping while exercising. As with any medicine taking them regularly should be done in moderation and discontinued once the symptoms are gone; otherwise they may lead to unwanted side effects.

Wear Earplugs

During heavy exercise, our bodies just can’t produce enough oxygen to sustain our efforts and the air in our lungs can become more and more depleted. When this depletion happens, the pressure within your ear canals decreases. This in turn causes some of the tiny bones in your middle ear to push against the ear drum, leading to that uncomfortable feeling of ‘ear popping’ as you exercise.

The best way to prevent this is by using earplugs when working out. This will help keep air pressure levels steady and reduce that uncomfortable ‘popping’ sensation. Additionally, plugs will help muffle loud noises so your eardrums won’t be subjected to any sudden loud sounds that are typical at a gym or sports practice. Some of the best earplugs on the market come with noise-canceling technology, which is perfect for people who are especially sensitive to sound. But whatever type of plug you choose, make sure it is comfortable enough to stay in place during your exercises otherwise it won’t be effective at all!


In conclusion, it’s been determined that ear popping during exercise is most likely caused by changes in air pressure due to a decrease in altitude and/or an increase in breathing rate. However, other factors may also be at play, such as dehydration or congestion. To prevent your ears from popping when exercising, make sure you stay hydrated and try to minimize any changes in altitude or breathing rate. If all else fails, try chewing gum or swallowing repeatedly to open your Eustachian tubes and relieve the pressure.

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