The Eustachian tube
The back of the nose and throat are connected to the middle ear, which is the area of the ear behind the eardrum, by the Eustachian tube.
The Eustachian tube normally opens and closes. By doing this, the middle ear’s internal and external air pressures are kept constant. The air pressure inside the middle ear won’t match the air pressure outside it if there is an issue with the Eustachian tube opening.
Other symptoms like ear pain and hearing loss may also result from this. The medical name for when patients get symptoms or middle ear injury as a result of air pressure variations is “ear barotrauma.”
The Eustachian tube does not always close normally in certain persons; instead, it is constantly open. Additionally, this may result in symptoms like hearing your own breathing and voice.
The majority of Eustachian tube issues are transient and resolve on their own. However, they can occasionally result in more severe conditions, like:
- An infection in the middle ear
- A ruptured eardrum
- Loss of hearing
Long-term Eustachian tube issues in youngsters can cause language or speech issues as well as hearing loss.
What causes issues with the Eustachian tube?
Issues with the Eustachian tube frequently result from:
- Colds, allergies, ear infections, and sinus infections are examples of illnesses or situations that cause the Eustachian tubes to swell or become irritated.
- Sudden air pressure fluctuations can occur while scuba diving, flying in an airplane, or traveling through the mountains.
- Blockage-causing growths in the Eustachian tube
- Having a malformed Eustachian tube at birth
What signs and symptoms point to a Eustachian tube issue?
Typical signs of a Eustachian tube issue include:
- An ear ache
- Feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear
- Difficulty hearing
- Hearing ringing
- Feeling unsteady
- Loud noises of your own breathing or voice
Should I visit a physician or a nurse?
If your symptoms are severe, worsen, or don’t go away after a few days, consult a doctor or nurse.
Do I require tests?
Most likely not. By learning about your symptoms and performing an examination, your doctor or nurse should be able to determine if you have a Eustachian tube issue.
If your symptoms are severe, persistent, or limited to one ear:
- Have you seen an ENT specialist, a specialized type of medical professional
- Test your hearing.
- Consider undergoing an imaging exam, which produces images of the body’s interior.
How are issues with the Eustachian tube treated?
The cause of the problem will determine how it is treated. Depending on your particular circumstance, your doctor may decide to administer 1 or more of the following treatments:
- Nose spritzers
- Antihistamines: Allergies are typically treated with this class of drugs. They aid in easing the symptoms of itchiness, sneezing, and runny nose.
- Decongestants – These medications can alleviate the symptoms of a stuffy nose.
- Drink a lot of fluids, especially before engaging in strenuous activity or being exposed to high temperatures, to prevent dehydration.
- Surgery is typically not necessary for Eustachian tube issues. However, if a person’s symptoms are severe or have persisted for a long time, surgery may be necessary.
- Eustachian tube issues can be treated without the use of antibiotics. However, if a person has an ear infection, they might be required.