The air in the middle ear passes to the Eustachian tube. This connects the nose with the middle ear and allows your body to maintain a balance of air pressure around the ear drum.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests frequent yawning and swallowing during take-off and landing to help your body adjust to the changes in air pressure.
You can also chew gum or suck on hard sweets.
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If you have a cold or sinus infection, the NSF advises taking a decongestant before flying.
- New York Times