Eustachian Tube Problems - Treatments

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How is Eustachian tube blockage treated?

Several maneuvers may be done to improve Eustachian tube function and thus aid in equalization of air pressure.

  • The simple act of swallowing activates the muscles in the back of the throat that help open the Eustachian tube. Any activity that promotes swallowing can help open the Eustachian tube, for example, chewing gum, drinking, or eating.
  • Yawning is even more effective because it is a stronger muscle activator.
  • If the ears still feel full, the person can try to forcibly open the Eustachian tube by taking a deep breath and blowing while pinching your nostrils and closing the mouth. When a "pop" is felt, you know you have succeeded. If problems persist despite trying to forcibly open the tubes you may need to seek medical attention. If you feel dizzy performing this maneuver, then stop and discuss this with your doctor.
  • If you have a cold, sinus infection, ear infection, or suffering from allergies, it may be advisable to postpone air travel.
  • Similarly, individuals with Eustachian tube problems may find such sports as scuba diving painful, and in some situations quite dangerous.
  • Babies traveling on airplanes cannot intentionally pop their ears, but may do so if they are sucking on a bottle or pacifier. Crying, similar in function to yawning, will also enable equalization of air pressure.

Many individuals who travel with Eustachian tube problems use a decongestant pill or nasal spray an hour prior to takeoff, and if necessary, prior to descent. The decongestant acts to shrink the membranes lining the nose and throat, allowing the ears to equalize more easily. Similarly, patients experiencing chronic daily problems with Eustachian tube dysfunction can benefit by aggressive control of allergies (with antihistamines, decongestants, and prescription nasal sprays). Allergy evaluation can be helpful. In severe situations, a "pressure equalization tube" (PET) can be surgically placed in the eardrum, replacing the role of a functioning Eustachian tube, and thus guaranteeing equalization of middle ear pressure.

Return to Eustachian Tube Problems (Problems Clearing Your Ears)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Bette, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 16

I was diagnosed with a blocked eustachian tube in my left ear! After a round of antibiotics, and being treated for middle ear infection, they decided the tube is blocked. I am going out of my mind! The vibration and pressure in my ear us incredible! I'm on 3 different nose sprays! I can't take it! There is no pain, just pressure!

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Comment from: Peeps23, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 17

I've suffered from Eustachian tube problem, with an 18 month history of stuffiness in the ears, and worse up and down hills, etc. I had tubes inserted into both ear drums which really helped the pressure feeling but gave me terrible and unbearable autophony. I had the tubes removed, and am now left with the ear pressure feeling. I also tried nystatin thinking it might be yeast, and I have put the drops into my mouth and swirled around twice daily now for a week and no change.

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