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What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?

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Blog

What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?

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Eustachian tubes are small tubes that run between your middle ears and the upper throat. They are responsible for equalizing ear pressure and draining fluid from the middle ear, the part of the ear behind the eardrum. The eustachian tubes are usually closed except for when you chew, swallow, or yawn.

These passageways are small in size and can get plugged for a variety of reasons. Blocked eustachian tubes can cause pain, hearing difficulties, and a feeling of fullness in the ears. Such a phenomenon is referred to as eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD).

ETD is a relatively common condition. Depending on the cause, it may resolve on its own or through simple at-home treatment measures. Severe or recurring cases may require a visit to the doctor.

What are symptoms of eustachian tube dysfunction?

If you have eustachian tube dysfunction:

  • Your ears may feel plugged or full.
  • Sounds may seem muffled.
  • You may feel a popping or clicking sensation (children may say their “ear tickles”).
  • You may have pain in one or both ears.
  • You may hear ringing in your ears (called tinnitus).
  • You may sometimes have trouble keeping your balance.

Your symptoms may get worse when you are flying (because of altitude changes). Riding in elevators, driving through mountains or diving may also make your symptoms worse.

Posted by CHAPEL HILL EAR, NOSE AND THROAT / July 12, 2017