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Airplane ear is also called ear barotrauma, barotitis media or aerotitis media. Barotrauma commonly occurs with altitude changes, such as flying, scuba diving, or driving in the mountains. If you have a congested nose from allergies, colds, or an upper respiratory infection, you are more likely to develop barotrauma.
Surgical treatment of airplane ear sometimes become necessary. The surgeon may make an incision in your eardrum (myringotomy) to equalize air pressure and drain blood or fluid.