I can "pop" my ears at will - unusual?

I can open my eustachian tubes by flexing some muscles at the back of my jaw. I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happening because I hear a “click” or “snap” sound in my ears and the pressure in my ears equalizes with that in my mouth.

I know some people can’t do this because they complain about their ears hurting on airplanes and such.

Can most people do this, or is it uncommon? Can you do it?

I can do the same thing, but I don’t know if it’s unusual or not.

i think that they are always open, that is why they exist, and when they aren’t you can have problems with pressure buildup on either side. for example a cold which might cause them to plug gives you reduced hearing and a strange sensation.

you might cause them to open more than usual.

that pop isn’t likely pressure equalizing but joint and ligament noises.

Maybe if anything is unusual about me is that my eustachian tubes are normally closed. I can reduce the pressure inside my ears (by opening the tubes briefly while sucking in) and it will stay that way until I pop the tubes open again.

And, true, the clicking sound is not from equalization; they “click” even if the pressure is already equal.

Any one who scuba dives can do this to an extent, else they’d burst their eardrums after about 10 feet.

I can do that, too.

I can do it, and it’s not unusual among pilots who, like scuba divers, get to “enjoy” frequent pressure changes.

I suspect that, like wiggling your ears or making the Vulcan salute, it’s something most people can do but it requires some practice and most never bother.

I’ve been able to do it since I was little. However, when I mentioned it to other people, I got a "yeah right’ response. I can do it multiple times, I just did 10 of the right now right that, but there are times when I’m able to do only one of them.

I’ve been able to do this for a very long time (since I was a small child). It drives me crazy when I have head congestion and can’t equalize the pressure.

There was a thread a few months ago about something similar- being able to flex an ear muscle at will which causes a rumbling sound inside the head. I wonder if the ability is related at all? Apparently its fairly rare.

Me too.

Used to have to move my jaw, now I can just do it without moving anything else.

Having control, and an awareness, of my eustachean tubes has helped me with swimming and diving immensely. But sucks when I have a cold.

BTW my ex not only couldn’t do this, she actually couldn’t understand what I meant when I mentioned it. Further, she didn’t have the ability to switch her nose breathing off at the back of her throat, nor make the requisite adjustments required to equalize pressure when diving. She only managed two diving classes before having to give up. It struck me as weird that someone wouldn’t have any of this awareness of any of this at all - but maybe some people haven’t experienced the sort of things required to learn this, when they were children.

Hey, so I’m not the only one!

I also have been able to do it since I was a kid. And I also lose the control when I get congested (which is a bitch).

Another thing about it: I often keep a little negative pressure in my ears during the day. It seems to deaden background noises. If I’m straining to hear a faint sound I’ll pop the tubes wide open.

I can do both. I grew up in Montana, where even a short road trip could subject me to enough change in altitude to make my ears pop. However, I don’t know if this explains the ability to do it at will. I’ve never asked my sister if she could do it. My daughter, born in Minnesota, cannot pop her ears and has a miserable time on airplanes, even when she is chewing gum.

I was going to say the same thing, but didn’t. I used to do it a lot, when I was little.

I can do it - and I started a thread asking much the same question as this one, some time ago (might be the thread Bootis is remembering, or not - I can’t find it though.

Yes. When I was a kid I popped my ears a lot. They also pop when I chew, but I don’t notice unless I’m really paying attention - it’s not as loud as the chewing and isn’t painful. I thought I once heard that this is technically a mild form of tinnitus.

Here is Mangetout’s thread on this topic. Bob Scene may have come up with the answer as to how it works.

I found this thread while I was searching. It’s got no bearing on the topic but it’s an interesting look back in time.

I can do it, but I don’t use any muscles in my jaw. I just exhale while constricting the flow of air from my nose, using some muscles in my head/face, I don’t know which ones. The pressure in my ears changes and everything gets louder.

To reverse the process, I just restrict the airflow and inhale. The pressure changes and everything gets quiet.

I spend most all my time in quiet mode. What’s really nice is that I can change air pressure at will when I’m on airplanes. I can even fine-tune how loud things sound by adjusting the pressure in my ears along the continuum from fully pressurized to fully depressurized.

Sounds like we do pretty much the same thing.

The muscle I pull to open the tubes feels like it’s at the back of my jaw bone, but doesn’t move the jaw itself.