Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
(ETD; Barotitis Media; Barotrauma; Ear Popping; Pressure-related Ear Pain)
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- Inability of the tiny hairs inside the ear to remove fluid and infection
- Poor squeezing function within the eustachian tube
- Narrow eustachian tube—in infants
- Adenoid tissue blocking eustachian tube—in children
- Swollen nasal secretions that cause a blockage
- Tumors—in adults
- Age: Children
- Nasal congestion from an allergy
- Cold other upper respiratory infection
- Ear or sinus infections
- Environmental allergies
- Children with large adenoids
- Activities with large, rapid altitude changes, such as flying in an airplane or scuba diving
- Presence of obstructing tumors in the nasopharynx
- Feeling of fullness or clogging in the ear
- Discomfort or pain in the ear
- Hearing loss
- Ringing in the ear
- A sensation of spinning known as vertigo
- Symptoms that cannot be relieved by swallowing, yawning, or chewing
- Pain if the blockage results in an infection
- Swallowing, yawning, or chewing gum to relieve the pressure
- Clearing your ears by breathing in and then gently breathing out while holding your nostrils and mouth closed
- Nasal or oral decongestants
- Oral antihistamines
- Nasal steroids to relieve nasal congestion and enable the eustachian tube to open
- Pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Treat allergies as advised by your doctor.
- Avoid flying in an airplane or going scuba diving if you have allergies or a cold.
- Use decongestants or antihistamines if you have an allergy or a cold.
- Yawn or chew gum. Encourage swallowing by sucking on hard candy or drinking water.
- When taking off and landing, clear your ears by breathing in and then gently breathing out while holding your nostrils and mouth closed.
- Try special earplugs that slowly equalize the pressure in your ear. These earplugs can be found at drugstores and airports.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
American Hearing Research Foundation http://www.american-hearing.org
Canadian Academy of Audiology http://www.canadianaudiology.ca
The Canadian Hearing Society http://www.chs.ca
Barotrauma. American Hearing Research Foundation website. Available at: http://american-hearing.org/disorders/barotrauma/ . Updated October 2012. Accessed September 13, 2013.
Eustachian tube dysfunction. McKinley Health Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign website. Available at: http://www.mckinley.uiuc.edu/handouts/eustachian%5Ftube%5Fdysfunction/eustachian%5Ftube%5Fdysfunction.html . Updated March 24, 2007. Accessed September 13, 2013.
General information about nasopharyngeal cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/nasopharyngeal/Patient . Updated June 21, 2013. Accessed September 13, 2013.
Eustachian tube dysfunction. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Eustachian-Tube-Dysfunction.htm . Updated March 15, 2012. Accessed September 13, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013