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When during a plane flight am I most likely to get barotrauma?

Barotrauma occurs primarily during ascent and descent, the periods during which altitude, and therefore pressure, is changing most rapidly. Barotrauma is actually more common during the descent than the ascent. On the way up, environmental pressure is decreasing, so air must flow out from the ear. Coming back down, pressure is increasing, so air has to come in. Flow in this direction is more difficult, and barotrauma is therefore more likely.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.