The eustachian tube is a thin tube that joins the middle ear to the back of the nose. It’s approximately 3-4cm long in adults. The tube’s main function is to equalize the air pressure inside the eardrum and outside of it. This allows the eardrum to function and vibrate properly, so we can hear. The tube is usually closed, but opens when we swallow, yawn or chew. This allows air to flow into the middle ear and drain any secretions or waste.
Eustachian tube dysfunction happens when the tube doesn’t open properly or is blocked. This prevents air from getting into the middle air, so the pressure from outside the eardrum becomes different than inside the middle ear. This can cause muffled or dull hearing, ear pain, ringing and dizziness. Symptoms are often caused due to a cold and usually go away within a week or two.