The eustachian tube is the tube or canal between the middle ear (the chamber behind the ear drum) and the back of the nose (nasopharynx). This tube functions to equalize the pressure in the middle ear and the ambient (outside) pressure in the environment. For example, when we go up in altitude (increase elevation in the mountains or fly in an airplane) the eustachian tube allows air to move in or out of the middle ear to equalize it’s pressure with the new outside or atmospheric pressure. Without a functioning eustachian tube the pressure in the middle ear would be less than or more than the outside pressure resulting in a sensation of fullness or discomfort in the ear, together with muffled hearing and associated symptoms.
Eustachian tube problems may arise from allergies, colds, flu, sinus problems, polyps, weight changes and rarely more serious conditions. If time, allergy medicines and decongestants do not correct the problem, further evaluation and management by a physician is required to diagnose and treat the condition correctly.