Publication date: 2018-06-07 11:51
If the Eustachian tube function worsens, air pressure in the middle ear falls, and the ear feels full and sounds are perceived as muffled. Eventually, a vacuum is created which can then cause fluid to be drawn down the Eustachian tube into the middle ear space (termed serous otitis media ). If the fluid becomes infected, the common ear infection (suppurative otitis media) develops.
Allergies and illnesses like the common cold are the most common causes of ETD. These conditions may cause your eustachian tubes to become inflamed or clogged with mucus. People with sinus infections are more likely to develop plugged eustachian tubes.
Initial treatment targets the potential causes of mucosal inflammation, such as allergic rhinitis and acid reflux. This often includes topical or oral steroids, antihistamines, and acid-suppressant medications. “However, none of these have proven to be reliably effective,” said Edward McCoul, MD, MPH, director of rhinology and sinus surgery at Ochsner Clinic and Health System in New Orleans, La.
The eustachian tubes help regulate ear pressure and drain excess fluid from the middle ear, moving it to the throat to be eliminated.
ETD is common, but most cases resolve with little or no help. Treating the underlying cause is the best way to treat and prevent recurring symptoms of ETD.
Before going into an explanation of why there are occasions when the ear doesn't feel right ( ear fullness, clogged ears, fluid sensation ) or makes unusual noises ( ear crackling/popping ), one must understand the anatomy of how the ear works when things are normal. If your ears hurt, click here. If your complaints are more irregular clicking noise in the ear, go here.
A promising new treatment called eustachian tube balloon dilation has been described in March 7566 to address eustachian tube dysfunction at the source surgically rather than indirectly with tube placement across the eardrum. In essence, a balloon is inserted into the eustachian tube and than inflated thereby opening it up (the balloon is popping the ear for you). The balloon is than deflated and removed.
With this system, Dr. Aminpour uses a catheter to insert a small balloon through the nose and into the Eustachian tube. The balloon is inflated to open up a pathway for air and mucus to flow through the Eustachian tube, to help restore normal function. After the Eustachian tube has been dilated, the balloon is deflated and removed.
Experiencing a cracking noise or sound in the ear is a common abnormality experienced by many people and is often a sign of an abnormality occurring within the delicate structures of the ear. While some cases of a cracking noise in the ears are benign, such as a crackling sound in the ear when moving the jaw or while gulping food quickly, they may not go away easily.
The Eustachian tubes are normally closed, but open when we yawn, swallow, or chew, which allows air to flow into the middle ear and mucus to flow out. This equalizes air pressure on either side of the eardrum and keeps the middle ear free of mucus. It also helps the eardrum vibrate, which is necessary for us to hear. As long as the Eustachian tubes are working properly, they typically go unnoticed.