According to WebMD, a popping sensation in the ear is a common symptom of a middle ear infection, also referred to as acute otitis media. Popping, ringing and a feeling of fullness in the ear are caused by fluid build up. Additional symptoms include ear pain, hearing difficulty and loss of balance.
Mount Sinai Hospital explains that Eustachian tube dysfunction, a condition in which the canal that connects the middle ear to the throat and back of the nose fails to completely open when an individual yawns or swallows, causes ear popping. Eustachian tube dysfunction is caused by blockages made by swollen nasal secretions or adenoid tissue, as well as tumors or poor functioning of hairs inside the tube that are responsible for moving fluid. Symptoms include popping in the ears, hearing loss, pain and a feeling of fullness in the ear.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, popping ears are caused by a difference in pressure inside and outside of the eardrum. Ear popping is a common symptom that occurs with nasal allergies, sinus conditions and upper respiratory infections. Ear popping can often be relieved by gargling with salt water or sucking on hard candy. Dr. Weil suggests that anyone experiencing constant ear popping consult with a physician to determine the specific cause and ensure proper treatment.