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Why Do Your Ears Pop on Flights?


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Airplane Ears The Science Behind Your Ears Popping on Flights

eardrums. When you’re in flight on an airplane, air pressure is not equal. During both ascent and descent, your eardrums stretch to try to adapt to the changes. In order to equalize the pressure, your eustachian tube needs to open and close. When it does, your ears pop! Usually, the ear popping is irritating but nothing more. However, in rare cases, the pressure can lead to ear pain and even loss in hearing, especially if your ears don’t pop. In this case, you may need to make an effort to get your eustachian tube to open by yawning, talking, or swallowing. Sucking on

a piece of candy, swallowing some water, or chewing gum may also help! One of the best things you can do is make sure you are not sleeping as the airplane takes off or lands because your eustachian tube isn’t able to open and close normally. If you commonly struggle with congestion or sore ears on flights, taking a nasal decongestant before you board may ensure that your eustachian tube is not blocked. If your hearing and ears do not return to normal shortly after the flight, be sure to schedule an appointment to see your health care professional as soon as possible.

When it comes to flying on an airplane, you can avoid cramped legs by upgrading to first class or catch a view by picking the window seat. However, there’s no getting around your ears popping during takeoff and landing. Believe it or not, there is a scientific explanation behind this common annoyance. As you read this, you’re likely not on an airplane, and the air pressure on either side of your eardrums is equal. Air is currently passing right on through your eustachian tube, a narrow passage that leads from your middle ear cavity to your pharynx and allows for pressure to be equalized on each side of your

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