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Why do your ears pop? © Getty Images

Why do your ears pop?

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Aeroplane travel is never complete without a pop of your eardrum.

Asked by: Antonio Hardy, London


The air pressure on your eardrum is normally balanced because your middle ear is connected to your sinuses via a narrow duct called the Eustachian tube. If the outside air pressure changes too quickly though (in an aeroplane coming in to land, for example), the Eustachian tube can’t equalise the pressure fast enough and the eardrum bows in or out. The popping sound occurs when the pressure rebalances and the eardrum suddenly flips back.


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Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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