Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD) is a condition where the tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat (Eustachian tube) becomes blocked. This can be due to smoking, allergies, respiratory tract infections, or congenital causes. Between 0.9% and 5% of adults suffer from Eustachian Tube Dysfunction.
Symptoms can include:
- A feeling of pressure or fullness in the ears
- Pain during altitude changes, including flying and diving
- Hearing loss
- Frequent ear infections (otitis media)
- Fluid behind the eardrum
- Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
If left untreated, long-term ETD may cause damage and rupture of the eardrum, middle ear infections, and hearing loss.
Antihistamines or nasal steroids can sometimes ease the blockage. If that doesn’t work, the standard treatment is to insert plastic tubes that ventilate the ear. These ear tubes eventually fall out, and people who get them should be cautious about submerging their heads in water.
For patients with long-term ETD, Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation could be an option for treatment. The Eustachian Tube opening is dilated, which usually leads to improved function of the Eustachian Tube over time. This minimally invasive procedures can usually be done in the office under light anesthesia.
Your feedback and questions are important to us. Please contact us and let us know how we can assist you. If you would like to schedule an appointment, let us know, and someone will call you to schedule.