Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why do I keep having a popping sound in my ear?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy do I keep having a popping sound in my ear?


My right ear keeps making this popping sound like it would normally make when it is clogged but it doesn't feel clogged at all. it is kind of the feeling you get after an ear has popped and it is going back to normal. What is this?


It is likely that you are experiencing a bit of eustachian tube dysfunction. The eustachian tubes are tiny tubes that run between the back of the throat and the middle ear (the part of the ear behind the ear drum). The function of the eustachian tubes is to drain fluid from the middle ear into the throat and also to equalize the pressure behind the ear drum. Sometimes, the eustachian tubes become inflamed and do not function properly. The most common cause of eustachian tube dysfunction is a viral infection like the common cold. Other causes include throat infections, nasal allergies, and chronic sinus congestion. With eustachian tube dysfunction, fluid may collect in the middle ear because it cannot drain properly. Then, with a yawn or chewing motion, or other maneuver that opens the tube temporarily, the liquid and pressure may suddenly be relieved, leading to the popping sensation. Generally speaking, eustachian tube dysfunction like this does not require any specific treatment, as it tends to get better as the congestion or cold symptoms resolve. However, it would be worthwhile seeing your primary care doctor for a quick checkup to make sure there is not a more serious cause, such as an ear infection, that does need treatment.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.