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Eustachian Tube Dysfunction


What is eustachian tube dysfunction?

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is a condition that prevents your eustachian tubes from opening properly. It can also cause them to become blocked. Eustachian tubes connect your middle ear to the back of your nose and throat. These tubes open and allow air to flow in and out when you sneeze, swallow, or yawn.

What causes or increases my risk of ETD?

ETD may be caused by swelling or buildup of mucus in your eustachian tubes. Allergies, a cold, or sinus infection can increase your risk for ETD. Smoking also increases your risk for ETD.

What are the signs and symptoms of ETD?

  • Fullness or pressure in your ears
  • Muffled hearing
  • Pain in one or both ears
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Popping or clicking feeling in your ears
  • Trouble keeping your balance

How is ETD diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms. He will examine your ears, your nose, and the back of your throat. He may also do a hearing test.

How is ETD treated?

Your ETD may get better on its own without any treatment. You may need any of the following:

  • Exercises such as swallowing, yawning, or chewing gum may help to open your eustachian tubes. Your healthcare provider may also recommend that you take a deep breath and then blow with your mouth shut and your nostrils pinched closed.
  • Air pressure devices push air into your nose and eustachian tubes to help relieve air pressure in your ear.
  • Treatment for allergies such as decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal steroids may improve ETD. They may help decrease swelling of the eustachian tubes.
  • Ear tubes may help to keep your middle ear open. During this procedure, your healthcare provider will cut a small hole in your eardrum.
  • A myringotomy is procedure to make a small cut in your eardrum and suction out fluid from your middle ear.
  • Tuboplasty is a procedure to widen your eustachian tubes.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your symptoms do not improve or get worse.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have any hearing loss.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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IBM Watson Micromedex