Eustachian Tube Dysfunction FAQs
Eustachian tube dysfunction can cause your ears to feel plugged, making noises seem muffled. The expert ENTs at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat in Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Torrance, California, diagnose and treat Eustachian tube dysfunction in patients of all ages. Call your nearest office or book an appointment online today if you think that you or your child has Eustachian tube dysfunction.
What is Eustachian tube dysfunction?
The Eustachian tubes are small passageways that run between your middle ears and throat. These passages usually remain closed, except for when you chew, swallow, sneeze, or yawn. This helps to prevent excess fluid and pressure from building up inside your ear.
Eustachian tube dysfunction occurs when one of these tubes gets plugged. Blocked Eustachian tubes may make you feel like your ears are full of cotton. You may also experience ear pain and difficulty hearing.
Eustachian tube dysfunction often resolves on its own. If you continue to experience symptoms for two weeks or longer, call SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat.
What are the symptoms of Eustachian tube dysfunction?
The most common symptom of Eustachian tube dysfunction is a feeling of fullness in the ears. Other symptoms include:
- Feeling like your ears are plugged
- Ear pain
- Difficulty hearing
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Ticklish sensation in the ears
- Clicking or popping sounds in the ears
Changes in altitude, like flying in a plane or driving through the mountains, may worsen symptoms.
What causes Eustachian tube dysfunction?
The most common causes of Eustachian tube dysfunction include allergies, colds, and sinus infections. These conditions cause the Eustachian tubes to swell or fill with mucus.
Children are more likely to experience Eustachian tube dysfunction because their tubes are smaller than those of adults, and therefore more easily become infected. Smoking and obesity also increase your risk of Eustachian tube dysfunction.
How is Eustachian tube dysfunction diagnosed and treated?
First, the team at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat carefully reviews your symptoms and medical history and performs a physical exam. They examine the inside of your ears as well as the nasal passages and back of your throat.
After they diagnose your condition, your ENT creates a personalized treatment plan. Treatment for Eustachian tube dysfunction may involve taking medications to treat an infection or reduce inflammation. If your Eustachian tube dysfunction is severe, surgery may be necessary.
The team at SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat performs balloon dilation of the Eustachian tube in the office or in an operating room. They may combine this procedure with endoscopic sinus treatment when appropriate.