In most people, hearing loss occurs gradually over time. You may not be aware of the change from one day to the next. Learn more about Eustachian Tube Dysfunction: (what is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction) Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.
Sometimes hearing loss is experienced suddenly and without warning. To deal with Eustachian Tube Dysfunction can be done with home remedies. The onset of these symptoms can be obstacles such as dizziness, vertigo, and problems in the throat.
What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?
The eustachian tract is a channel on each side of the face that extends from the back of the nose and upper throat to the middle ear. They remain closed most of the time but will open when a person swallows, chews, or evaporates.
The eustachian tract helps regulate ear pressure and drain excess fluid from the middle ear, then moves it to the throat for removal.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction definition
Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is a condition when the eustachian tract is blocked or does not open properly. This condition causes air to not enter the middle ear, so the pressure in the middle ear is less than the pressure outside the ear.
Common Eustachian tube disorders
Common Eustachian tube disorders include:
- Patulous Eustachian tube dysfunction
Patulous eustachian tube dysfunction is a disorder that occurs in the eustachian fallopian tubes causing them to remain open. When it is open, the sound can flow from the nasal cavity to the ear, it allows you to hear the sound or breath yourself too loudly, even the sound of pumping blood. Eustachian particular tube dysfunction can also alternate with obstructive Eustachian tube dysfunction.
- Obstructive Eustachian tubal dysfunction
This disorder occurs when the Eustachian fallopian tube valve does not open properly, thus preventing pressure from balancing and fluid flowing out through the ear.
- Baro-challenge-induced Eustachian tubal dysfunction (obstructive Eustachian tubal dysfunction while on an airplane or while scuba diving)
What causes a person to experience Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction has a variety of potential causes, including:
- Seasonal allergies and diseases that create inflammation in the area, such as flu or colds, are common causes of this condition.
- Sinus infection, causes the eustachian ducts to become inflamed or contain mucus.
- More serious infections of the sinuses can also cause the onset of ETD symptoms.
- Simple changes to altitude or air pressure.
- Drive on a mountain or sit on a plane.
- Taking an elevator in a tall building may be enough for some people to develop unpleasant symptoms.
What are the symptoms of this condition?
ETD symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may vary for each person. Common symptoms include:
- Feel like something’s clogged in the ear
- The ears feel like they’re filled with water
- Tinnitus, or ringing ears
- Muffled hearing or partial hearing loss
- Beats or bursts
- Experiencing pain around the ears
- Tickling or tingling sensation
- Problems with balance
The length and severity of eustachian tube dysfunction symptoms depend on the cause. For example, if ETD is caused by a change in altitude, these symptoms will often disappear as the body adjusts to pressure or reaches a lower height.
On the other hand, Eustachius tube dysfunction caused by a disease or infection can last longer. For anyone experiencing ETD symptoms lasting more than 2 weeks should see a doctor immediately.
Eustachian tube dysfunction sometimes occurs, but some people get symptoms more regularly than others. People who smoke may be more at risk of experiencing this condition, as smoking can damage fine hair in the throat and middle ear.
Obese people may experience ETD symptoms. This is because fatty tissue deposits can form around the eustachian channel, so it will most likely be closed.
People with allergies can experience ETD more often, as allergies cause increased mucus and nasal congestion.
Engaging in certain activities puts a person more at risk of pressure changes, which can trigger symptoms of Eustachian tube dysfunction. These activities include things like:
- Rock climbing
- Skiing or snowboarding
- Scuba diving
Children are also more at risk of developing Eustachian tube dysfunction, as their eustachian tract is much smaller so it is more likely to be clogged by mucus or germs. The child’s immune system is also less able to fight infection, as it has not fully developed. Children are more likely to have colds and sinus infections, which are a direct cause of ETD.
How is Eustachian tube dysfunction Diagnosed?
Eustachius tube dysfunction can be readily diagnosed during a trip to the physician. Your doctor may ask questions about hearing changes, pain in the ears, or feelings of distress. They will also look into the ear using an otoscope, checking for signs of infection or blockage.
If ETD is caused by another disease or disorder, the doctor will also ask questions about it to determine the appropriate treatment.
How to treat Eustachian tube dysfunction?
ETD symptoms will usually go away on their own. If another disease causes symptoms, it will heal after the underlying disease is treated.
If ETD symptoms are annoying, some simple home remedies can help. Minor ETD symptoms, such as those caused by changes in altitude or air pressure, can be treated by chewing gum or forcing evaporates.
Many people find that minor ETD symptoms can disappear when ingesting, so drinking or eating snacks can help. This way can open and close the eustachian tube, which can also reduce the pressure on the ear.
Food in the form of jellies can help alleviate these symptoms. Especially for children who like jelly with a sour taste. However, you need to know about Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan? Consuming Too Much of it Makes Emotions in Children Unstable!
Children who experience mild or temporary ETD symptoms can eat snacks or chew gum. Giving the baby a bottle or pacifier can help alleviate symptoms.
From minor to moderate symptoms can be alleviated with saline nasal spray or irrigation system. Sometimes dry mucus or other particles can get stuck in or near the eustachian ducts and cause symptoms. Cleaning the hallway can help remove anything clogged in the hallway.
Depending on the cause, some over-the-counter medications may help address ETD symptoms. A person experiencing ETD due to allergies may feel relieved by using antihistamines such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or loratadine (Alavert, Claritin). A variety of antihistamines are available for purchase online.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help relieve pain and swelling.
If ETD symptoms are caused by a bacterial infection, it is most likely that the doctor will prescribe antibiotics. This may be topical treatment or oral antibiotics. In the case of severe ETD, your doctor may also prescribe oral steroids.
Severe and long-lasting cases of ETD are not common but can require extensive and sometimes invasive treatment. In some cases, fluid accumulates behind the eardrum and cannot come out through the malfunctioning eustachian tract. In these cases, the doctor may make a small incision in the eardrum to help drainage the fluid.
People who often experience severe ETD can be treated using pressure equalization tubes. It is an implant that balances the pressure in the ear and helps reduce the chances of infection of the middle ear.
When to see a doctor?
Make sure you see a doctor immediately if the symptoms get worse or last more than two weeks. Especially for children, Eustachius tube dysfunction may occur frequently because these symptoms are almost the same as ear infections.
The most common complication of Eustachian tube dysfunction is the risk of recurrent symptoms. Symptoms will appear more often if you do not treat the underlying cause.
In severe cases, ETD can also cause:
- Middle ear infection or called Chronic Otitis Media
- Otitis Media with effusion. This refers to the build-up of fluid located in the middle ear and lasting for several weeks. However, more serious cases can lead to irreversible hearing damage.
- Retraction of the eardrum, which is a condition in which the eardrum is sucked further into the ducts.