Why Do Your Ears Feel Strange When You Open the Rear Windows in a Car?

Discover the aerodynamics in cars that cause ear pressure changes. Find out why your ears feel strange when you open rear windows in a car!

Why Do Your Ears Feel Strange When You Open the Rear Windows in a Car?
Photo by National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

In a moving car, changes in air pressure may cause discomfort or a strange sensation in the ears.

This sensation, known as ear pressure, becomes particularly noticeable when the rear windows are opened while the front windows remain closed.

But what causes this phenomenon?

Let's delve into the science behind this unusual experience.

Airflow Dynamics:

The airflow dynamics inside a car play a significant role in causing ear pressure when the rear windows are opened.

When the rear windows are opened, they create a negative pressure zone in the rear of the car, pulling the air from the front of the cabin towards the back and creating a rapid airflow inside the vehicle.

Pressure Differential:

The pressure inside the car is directly related to its speed and the airflow.

By keeping the front windows closed, the air pressure in the front of the car remains relatively higher compared to the rear.

This pressure difference causes the discomfort or sensation felt in the ears, as the ears struggle to equalize the pressure inside and outside the ear canal.

Aerodynamics in Motion:

Moreover, the design of the car and the aerodynamics come into play.

The airflow around the car, combined with the airflow inside, contributes to the pressure difference between the front and rear of the car, creating distinct pressure zones which exacerbate the ear discomfort when the rear windows are open while the front ones are closed.

Equalizing Pressure:

To alleviate the discomfort when opening the rear windows, it is advisable to crack open the front windows slightly.

This allows for better airflow balance inside the car, equalizing the pressure differential and reducing the sensation of ear pressure.

*The sensation of ear pressure when the rear windows are open in a moving car is a result of complex interactions between airflow dynamics, pressure differentials, and aerodynamics.

By understanding the science behind this phenomenon, passengers can take proactive steps to mitigate discomfort during their travels.*

Next time you open the rear windows, consider the intricate airflow dynamics at play, and how they affect your ears in the confined space of a moving vehicle.