The Eustachian tubes connect the middle ear to the back of the throat. They have two main jobs: allowing fluid to drain from the middle ear and allowing air pressure to equalize between the middle ear and the environment. When the Eustachian tubes can’t do their jobs, they are said to be dysfunctional. One 2018 study reports, “The incidence of Eustachian tube dysfunction in adults is about 1%, in children almost 40%.” In this post, we review how Eustachian tube dysfunction is treated.
Sometimes a simple home remedy is all you need to treat Eustachian tube dysfunction. You can try:
- Chewing gum
- Trying the Valsalva maneuver (breathing out while pinching the nostrils and closing the mouth)
- Using saline spray to clear the nasal passages
If you believe your young child has Eustachian tube dysfunction, you can give them a pacifier or bottle. The sucking motion may help clear the tubes.
Over-the-counter medications available at Smith’s Food and Drug Pharmacy in Fort Union can treat or manage pain associated with Eustachian tube dysfunction. These include:
In more severe cases, other medications may be prescribed, like:
For chronic or severe cases of Eustachian tube dysfunction, your ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician may recommend surgery. Some of the surgeries that can help correct Eustachian tube dysfunction include:
- Ear tubes. Also known as pressure equalization tubes, these are placed in the eardrum to allow ventilation of the middle ear for up to one year. The tubes then fall out as the eardrum heals. This is one of the most common surgical procedures performed on children.
- Myringotomy. For this procedure, a surgeon makes a small incision in your eardrum to drain fluid from the middle ear. In most cases, the hole stays open long enough for the swelling in your Eustachian tubes to go down.
- Eustachian tuboplasty. This procedure is also called Eustachian tube balloon dilation. It’s a newer procedure where the Eustachian tubes are expanded with a tiny balloon.
To learn more about treatment for Eustachian tube dysfunction or to schedule an appointment with an expert ENT physician, call South Valley Ear Nose & Throat today.