Ears Popping During Pregnancy - 3 Causes & 5 Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of

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Pregnancy can lead to several health issues, which are almost always a part of the process. However, strange symptoms, such as the sounds of ears popping during pregnancy, may also occur.

While it is a normal event, the symptoms may also signal a serious underlying issue in some cases. You are not alone if you find yourself identifying with these issues. Read on to know why your ears make popping sounds in pregnancy and how it can be managed.

What Is Ears Popping?

Ear popping is caused due to air pressure differences.

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Ear popping refers to muffled sounds inside the ear due to differences in the air pressure. Ear popping may mean you suffer from some Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD). It may also mean that your ear is full of wax, and you need to clean it.

Normally, the air pressure inside the ear and outside is the same. But many reasons can block the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the nasal passage and throat. When this happens, the Eustachian tube is unable to maintain the right air pressure in the air. It is then you may feel the need to pop your ears to clear the stuffiness inside or hear a popping sound coming from your ears.

The medical term for ears popping is ear barotrauma or barotitis media. Ear popping is a generic name for the problem (1).

Causes Of Ear Popping During Pregnancy

 Cold and other respiratory infections can cause ear popping sounds.

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Ear popping is not a symptom of pregnancy. If you are pregnant and suffer from ear problems, the buildup of ear wax or any respiratory infections, you may experience a popping sound inside your ears.

Ear popping sounds may occur due to many reasons.

  • Ear popping normally occurs during air travel, at higher altitudes or underwater when the outside air pressure constantly changes.
  • It can also occur due to an ear or sinus infection. Eardrum can rupture and cause problems in the Eustachian tube. Cold, allergies and other respiratory infections can also cause ear popping sounds.
  • A defect in the Eustachian tube can also be congenital (since/before birth) (2).

Symptoms Of Ears Popping While Pregnant

Ears popping during pregnancy may cause dizziness.

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Here are some symptoms that may indicate ear problems and the source of the popping sounds inside the ears:

  • Earache
  • Discomfort inside the ear
  • Feeling of stuffiness in the ear
  • Temporary hearing loss

Managing Ears Popping During Pregnancy

For mild popping sounds, yawning may help.

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Your ear problems during pregnancy can be for any number of reasons. But the important thing is to consult your doctor to rule out any severe medical reasons for the same.

For popping sounds due to mild problems inside the ear, your doctor may suggest some easy treatment options such as chewing gum, yawning or stretching. If the problem is ear wax or may be trapped water inside your ears, simple cleanup with an ear bud may help.

Your doctor may also suggest other treatments depending on your pregnancy health.

  • Oral decongestants
  • Nasal sprays
  • Medicines

There are also other measures you can try.

Steam inhalation may provide relief from popping sounds.

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  • Steam inhalation may provide you relief from sinus infections or allergies and thus any popping sounds.
  • Chewing gum or yawning can also help you with minimizing any problems in your Eustachian tube and prevent popping sounds in case you need to air travel during your pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can stress cause ear popping?

Persistent stress and anxiety can cause patulous Eustachian tube dysfunction. In this condition, the Eustachian tube remains open, letting the sound travel from the nasal cavity to the ears. It is this sound travel that causes individuals to hear different sounds like ear popping (3).

Can high blood pressure cause ear popping problems?

High blood pressure affects the blood vessels throughout the body, including the ears. Hence, high blood pressure may cause ear problems. However, whether high blood pressure causes ear popping or not is unclear.

Can I go deaf from ears popping?

Ear popping in itself can’t cause hearing loss. However, there are several reasons, such as chronic, untreated Eustachian tube dysfunction that might lead to hearing loss in some cases (4).

Ear popping during pregnancy seems more like a hassle than a cause for concern. It can simply be caused by an ear obstruction produced by ear wax or by an ear or sinus infection. Consult your doctor to rule out any severe concerns about ear-popping sounds. Chewing gum, yawning, stretching, steam inhalation, or simple cleansing with an earbud are all possible treatments. However, you should avoid using over-the-counter (OTC) medications for ear infections, especially when pregnant, and avoid poking your ears with a sharp item in general.


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Ria Saha

Ria is a techie-turned-writer and writes articles on health, with special emphasis on nutrition. She did her B.Tech from West Bengal University of Technology and was previously associated with IBM as SAP ABAP technical consultant. She moved into freelance content writing in 2013 and worked for various websites including MomJunction, Brainpulse Technologies, and Emarketz India.

Dr. Miguel Angel Razo Osorio

Dr. Miguel Razio Osorio began his career in 2004. After two years of internship and social service, he decided to specialize in G&O. Since 2013, Dr. Razo has dedicated his training and practice to improve his patients' obstetric and gynecological health, getting his degree as a certified specialist in 2017. He then began working at the different health systems in...
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