MARK CLARKE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK CLARKE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ear popping. Boy holding his nose to "pop" his ears in order to relieve earache due to flying in an airplane. This method is not recommended as it may cause permanent damage. The pain is caused by rapid changes in air pressure that occur during takeoff and landing. The air pocket inside the middle ear expands, which stretches the eardrum causing the Eustachian tube to have difficulty in regulating these rapid changes. Safer methods of equalizing the pressure between the ear and cabin is to swallow repeatedly or to yawn, which results in the muscle that opens the Eustachian tube being activated.
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