Home remedies for ear popping include swallowing, yawning or chewing gum, according to Mayo Clinic. Plugged ears may also be popped by taking a deep breath, pinching the nostrils and trying to blow out of the nose. A popping sound indicates the ears are unplugged.
Plugged ears may be caused by sinus congestion, notes WebMD. Holding a moist, warm cloth to the face or using a nasal saline spray may ease the pressure. Using a humidifier or running a hot shower and breathing in the steam may help. Over-the-counter decongestants also may help relieve plugged ears.
Changes in pressure, such as in an airplane, can also cause blocked ears or make a sinus condition more uncomfortable. Avoiding fast movements, drinking lots of fluids and avoiding caffeine, salt and alcohol, which can affect blood flow to the ears, prevents blocked ears.
The Eustachian tubes run between the middle of the ears and back of the nose, and if the tubes become obstructed, the ears become plugged, creating a feeling of pressure and causing muffled hearing, notes Mayo Clinic. Congestion from colds and flu also can block the tubes and plug the ears.
If home remedies do not unplug the ears, or if symptoms persist or worsen, the sufferer should seek medical attention, advises Mayo Clinic. Ventilation tubes may be needed to relieve the pressure and drain fluid.