Why do my ears pop?

A popping or crackling sound is pretty normal when you swallow or yawn. But what can be the reason behind it? Let us take a look at it in detail.



  • Our ears are divided into three parts, inner ear, middle ear and outer ear.
  • The outer ear consists of the pinna and external auditory meatus.
  • The middle ear consists of an air cavity and three bones named malleus, incus and stapes. It also bears the auditory tube known as the Eustachian tube.
  • The inner ear consists of two parts, one part helps in hearing and consists of the cochlea while the other part helps in balancing the head, and consists of three semi-circular canals.

Middle Ear:

  • Our main focus while learning about ear popping should be on the middle ear.
  • Middle ear lies in the temporal bone. It extends from tympanic membrane to the lateral border of inner ear. Middle ear is also called the tympanic cavity.
  • The eustachian tube is the narrow cavity that extends from the middle ear to the pharynx.

The reason behind the popping sound in our ears:

  • Eustachian tube is responsible for the popping sound we hear in our ear.
  • That sound is due to change in the air pressure of middle ear and the environment.
  • The popping sound helps us equalize the air pressure between the middle ear and the environment.
  • That popping sound is because of entrance of air in the middle ear from pharynx by Eustachian tube.

Fun Facts:

  1. Stapes is the smallest bone of our body.
  2. The malleus, incus and stapes all together combined are not bigger than a penny.
  3. Ears are not just responsible for the hearing but also for maintaining balance of the body.

Additional Questions:

  1. Explain about vestibular system.
  2. Describe in detail the human ear.
  3. Write down the functions of ear.

True or False:

  1. Our ear is divided into 5 sections.
  2. The innermost part of ear is known as middle ear.
  3. Middle ear consist of pinna.
  4. Semi-circular canals are present in inner ear.
  5. Popping sound we hear is because of blood pressure.

Objective Quiz:

  1. Our ears are divided into ______ parts.
    1. 4
    2. 5
    3. 1
    4. 3
  2. The outermost layer consists of ______.
    1. Pinna and external auditory meatus.
    2. Semi-circular canals and cochlea.
    3. Both 1) and 2).
    4. None of the above.
  3. Middle ear is also known as _______.
    1. Tympanic cavity.
    2. Olecranon fossa.
    3. Snuff box.
    4. Thyroid gland.
  4. _________ joins the middle cavity to the pharynx.
    1. Eustachian tube.
    2. Thyroid.
    3. Esophagus.
    4. Stomach.
  5. The popping sound is because of the entrance of ______ from pharynx to the middle ear.
    1. Air.
    2. Water.
    3. Blood.
    4. CSF

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