The Valsalva maneuver has a number of purposes, but it is most commonly used to pop your ears or equalize pressure between your middle ear and environment. This may be necessary when taking off or landing at Tucson International Airport. The purpose of this post is to review how to perform the Valsalva maneuver, what the research shows about its efficacy and what other uses it has.
How Do I Perform the Valsalva Maneuver?
In order to perform the Valsalva maneuver, you need to:
- Close your nostrils by gently pinching them.
- Close your mouth.
- Exhale, like you’re trying to inflate a balloon.
- Continue this for 10 to 15 seconds.
The Valsalva maneuver can be performed while sitting or lying down.
What Does the Research Show?
One 2019 study aimed to investigate the therapeutic effect of the Valsalva maneuver on otitis media [middle ear infection] to investigate the outcomes.
Thirty-nine ears in 32 adult patients that were diagnosed with otitis media with effusion (fluid trapped in the middle ear) were included in the study. Each participant performed the Valsalva maneuver multiple times per day for one week, and they did not receive any other interventions.
The average duration of otitis media in the participants was 30.9 days. The success rate of one week of the Valsalva maneuver was 64.1%, and hearing was significantly recovered in the success group.
The researchers report, “One-week Valsalva maneuver seems to be considered as a first line therapeutic modality in otitis media with effusion in adult patients who demonstrate the successful maneuver result on oto-endoscopic examination.”
What Are the Other Uses for the Valsalva Maneuver?
There are two other uses for the Valsalva maneuver:
- Restoring heart rhythm. Since the Valsalva maneuver shifts blood pressure and heart rate, it can sometimes restore a normal heart rhythm when you’re experiencing tachycardia (abnormally fast heart rate).
- Diagnosing ANS disorder. The Valsalva maneuver can also help your doctor identify problems with your sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve functions.
To learn more about the Valsalva maneuver or to schedule an appointment with an ear expert, call Arizona Hearing Specialists today.