What Makes Your Ears Pop?

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By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - When flying in an airplane, or driving over a mountain pass, you've likely noticed your ears pop as you change altitude.

That's due to changes in air pressure. Air exerts more pressure at lower altitudes than higher ones. Even though you don’t see it, air has a weight to it. Think about the column of air directly overhead of you. As you go higher and higher in altitude, there's less air above you, so the cumulative "weight" of air over your body decreases, translating into a drop in air pressure.

You'll notice the quick drop in pressures because the air inside your body will then be higher than the pressure outside your body. When your ears "pop", that's the body's way of alleviating the pressure difference between the air outside your body, and within.

Your Photos

YouNews Sunday Images Sunday Images
These images were taken Sunday, December 14 with a Nikon D3100 and an Explore Scientific ED127 (Moon) and ED80 (M42
and M31).
YouNews Weekend Sky Weekend Sky
The images of M42 (Orion) and M31 (Andromeda) are short
stacks (lights only) taken Sunday evening with an Explore
Scientific ED80 (wide angle) telescope and a Nikon D3100 DSLR. The image of the moon was taken with an Explore Scientific ED127 (5-inch) refractor.