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Airplane Ear: Why does the ear pain when planes descend?


If you have travelled by air before, you have probably noticed the pain felt in the ear when the plane descends. In this article, takes a look at the cause of the pain, what to do, and when to consult a doctor.

The ear pain or discomfort experienced during plane landings is due to the change in air pressure. As the plane descends, the air pressure outside the ear decreases while the pressure inside the ear remains the same, creating an imbalance in pressure. This can cause the eardrum to bulge outward, which can be painful.


The Eustachian tube, a narrow passageway that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat, helps to regulate the pressure inside the ear. During the ascent, the Eustachian tube opens and equalizes the pressure inside the ear. However, during the descent, the Eustachian tube may not open fully or may close too quickly, preventing the pressure from equalizing and causing discomfort.

To alleviate the discomfort, you can try yawning, swallowing, or chewing gum to help open the Eustachian tube and equalize the pressure. You can also try the Valsalva maneuver, which involves closing your mouth and gently blowing air through your nose while pinching your nostrils shut. This can help to equalize the pressure inside your ear.

The pain shouldn’t last beyond a day. If the discomfort persists, you should consult a doctor or ear specialist.

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Akesse Sanza

Akesse Sanza is a Ghanaian Travel Blogger, Travel and Tourism Consultant, and Anti-human Trafficking And Safe Migration advocate. Akesse loves everything Travel & Tourism and aims to see every single country in the world.

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