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How Can Air Travel Cause Problems?

Air travel is sometimes associated with rapid changes in air pressure. To maintain comfort, the Eustachian tube must function properly, that is, open frequently and widely enough to equalize the changes in air pressure. This is especially true when the airplane is coming down for a landing, going from low atmospheric pressure down closer to earth where the air pressure is higher. In the early days of airplanes with open cabins and cockpits, this was a major problem to flyers. Today’s aircraft are pressurized so that air pressure changes are minimized. Even so, some changes in pressure are unavoidable, even in the best and most modern airplanes. Actually, any situation in which rapid altitude or pressure changes occur creates the problem. You may have experienced it when riding in elevators of tall buildings or when diving to the bottom of a swimming pool. Deep sea divers are taught how to equalize their ear pressures; so are pilots.
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