This Game-Changing TikTok Hack Puts A Stop To Ear Pain And Popping On A Flight

Have you ever seen someone holding disposable cups over their ears during takeoff on an airplane? Though they might have looked silly, they were probably following a viral TikTok hack to protect their ears. A lot of goofy health and travel hacks circulate on TikTok, but this one might just help with a serious issue: airplane ear. A nurse on the platform has shared a helpful trick for keeping the pressure change from hurting your ears: a technique known as "hot cups."


While most travelers have probably experienced feeling their ears clog up or pop during takeoff or landing, for some, this can be an excruciating experience, with extreme pain, dizziness, and temporary loss of hearing. The hot cups strategy, a favorite of nurses, flight attendants, and frequent travelers, might earn you weird looks, but many swear by it. To try it, put hot water (or paper towels soaked in hot water) into the bottom of a pair of cups and place them over your ears.

The steam from the hot cups may prevent ear pain and popping on planes

As the popular TikTok describes, some passengers experience discomfort when taking off or landing because the pressure changes so quickly that their ears can't handle it. Usually, the eustachian tube maintains equilibrium between your inner ear and the world outside your body. Ear pain while flying results when the air pressure inside your ear differs drastically from the air pressure in the space around you, and your middle ear can't adjust quickly enough. According to some, using the hot cups technique can prevent this.


"Put [cups] on both of your ears, causing an airtight seal. The steam helps stabilize the pressure in the middle ear," the ear nurse explains in her video. Other passengers who have given the method their stamp of approval have described feeling like the hot steam opens up the ear faster, preventing pain. While flight attendants might get angry about some common complaints from passengers, you shouldn't have any trouble getting help from the cabin crew. According to the TikTok, you probably won't have to spell out why you need hot paper towels due to their familiarity with the technique.

Other strategies for fixing airplane ear

A passenger can make some rookie mistakes as a first-time flier, with failing to come prepared to deal with airplane ear numbering among the most painful. Just as you can use different items to help soothe plane anxiety, you have a few options for dealing with in-flight ear pain. If the hot ears technique described in the TikTok video doesn't work for you or you can't flag down a flight attendant to pour hot water into your cups, try opening your mouth wide or yawning to manually open and close your eustachian tube, which might help your ears pop. Many passengers swear by chewing gum during takeoff and landing to prevent ear pain for the same reason.


If you experience serious symptoms and severe pain when you fly and you can't fix it with one of these home remedies, consult a professional. An ENT has the qualifications to recommend the right medication to help you. Many suggest taking easily accessible over-the-counter decongestants before boarding the plane to help prevent serious side effects from flying.