The inner ear is particularly sensitive to atmospheric or air pressure changes. A common cold or virus can add to this sensitivity and fill the Eustachian tubes with fluid, blocking the inner ear and causing pain.
Flying also can increase the pressure in the inner ear; flying with a cold can prevent the Eustachian tubes from equalizing when the plane changes altitude.
Children are especially sensitive to this problem. Ear pain and pressure is one reason why some babies cry during takeoff and landing. It’s a good idea for parents to bring a bottle or pacifier for infants to suck on during these parts of the flight. Adults can chew a piece of gum or flex jaw muscles. The chewing and sucking action opens the jaw, thereby relieving pressure in the Eustachian tubes and alleviating inner ear pain.
Read Also : Emergency evacuations