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Why do changes in pressure affect the ears most severely?

Changes in pressure, such as those induced by air travel, affect the whole body. However, it is only gasses that change volume significantly in response to these changes. Airplane cabin pressure, relative to sea level, can cause pockets of gas to expand by a quarter of their previous volume. The air in the ear is particularly isolated and likely to cause pain. A similar problem can occur to the lungs.

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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.