Back to news home Back arrow

4 ways to unblock your ears after a long-haul flight

September 30, 2022


By Emma Woodhouse
Global Corporate Communications, CWT

Woman covering her ears with her hands.

You’ve made it through the queue for security. You’ve gotten through the flight. You’ve left the airport, eaten, and arrived at your accommodation ready to take in the sights and sounds of your trip. There’s one problem, however – you can’t hear a thing.

Although not necessarily painful, few things sour arriving at a new destination more than having ears that haven’t popped. Despite the rise in prices forecast across the industry over the next 18 months, travel is making a comeback. This means things like new experiences, memories, and stories are back, but it also means the return of the little niggles we’d rather go without.

So, if your ears are still blocked, what can you do? Luckily at CWT we have plenty of seasoned road warriors with decades worth of travel tips and tricks up their respective sleeves. We spoke to some of them – not all, there’s simply too many – and gathered a few simple solutions that will help you get your auditory powers back after a long flight.

  1. Try the Toynbee Maneuvre: This is a simple technique that you can do on the plane, in the car on the way to your hotel or anywhere else for that matter – provided that you don’t mind people seeing you do it. Start by pinching your nose than take a couple sips of water to help you to swallow.
  2. Try the Valsalva Maneuver: Like the Toynbee method, start by pinching your nose. Then close your mouth and blow softly. Be careful not to blow too hard as this could damage your ear drums. 
  3. Try chewing gum or sucking candy: Swallowing activates the muscles that will open your Eustachian tube, but sometimes that alone isn’t enough to unblock your ears. Chewing gum, sucking on candy, or swallowing liquid can help to encourage the tubes in your ears to open once more. 
  4. Try steam: Just like when you’re congested with a cold or flu, steam can help to unblock your ears. Boil some water and pour into a large bowl. Grab a towel, place your head over the bowl (not too close) and place the towel over your head so that it creates a cover to trap the steam. Breathe the steam in for 5-10 minutes until you feel your ears open again. A long shower at your accommodation can also have a similar effect.

Now that we’ve equipped you with some tried and tested secrets from our experienced travelers, to your new experiences, and long-awaited reunions with colleagues and clients, we say, hear, hear! 


Media Enquiries:

If you're a journalist looking for assistance with a media query, we're here to help.

Contact us at and one of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.