Eustachian Tube Dysfunction in Tarzana

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction - Marc Cohen M.D, Tarzana Surgeon

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

The Eustachian tube refers to the small passageway connecting the middle ear to your nose/throat. Every time you yawn, sneeze, or swallow, the Eustachian tubes open and close to balance air pressure inside and outside the ear. This tube also facilitates the drainage of secretions from the middle ear.

When the Eustachian becomes blocked, it is considered an Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD). This blockage prevents air from getting to the middle of the ear, causing reduced air pressure and a feeling of fullness in the ear that may lead to sounds feeling muffled.

Other symptoms of ETD include:

  • Intermittent pain
  • Discomfort
  • Clicking or crackling sounds when chewing or swallowing  

Diagnosis and treatments for ETD

Eustachian tube dysfunction is caused by any situation that causes differences in air pressure between the inside and outside of the body. It can be caused by sudden altitude changes, during air travel, scuba diving, or when driving through hilly terrain.

Such mild cases can be resolved by swallowing, chewing gum, yawning, or the Valsalva technique - where you pinch your nose, hold your mouth shut, and puff up your cheeks - to equalize air pressure.

Other causes include:

  • Chest, sinus, or ear infections
  • Allergies
  • Sinus problems or nasal congestion
  • Failure of the Eustachian tube to open

An ENT specialist will recommend the appropriate treatment depending on the cause of the problem. Common treatments include allergy shots, intranasal steroids, and decongestants. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to bypass the Eustachian tube and ventilate the middle ear.

Please visit Dr. Cohen for proper diagnosis and personalized medical advice on the management of Eustachian tube dysfunction.