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Massachusetts Eye and Ear
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Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

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Eustachian tube dysfunction occurs when the Eustachian tubes, which are small passageways connecting the upper part of the throat to the middle ears, become blocked or do not open properly. Normally, the Eustachian tubes help maintain equal pressure inside the middle ear by opening and closing like a valve. When they become blocked and airflow is obstructed, negative pressure builds within the middle ear.

Long-standing Eustachian tube dysfunction can result in chronic middle ear infections, sometimes leading to formation of a skin cyst within the ear (cholesteatoma) that requires surgical removal.

6Common Symptoms

  • Hearing loss
  • A feeling of fullness in the ears
  • Fluid in the middle ear
  • Ear pain
  • Clicking or popping sounds
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

Diagnosis and Treatment

Although there is no established cure for Eustachian tube dysfunction, the symptoms arising from the condition may be managed by our surgeons. Surgical treatment options range from placement of a ventilation tube in the eardrum to procedures to reconstruct the eardrum and middle ear.

Meet Our Team

Our Hearing and Balanceteam is comprised of some of the world’s finest ear surgeons, skull base surgeons, balance disorder specialists and audiologists.

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