Eustachian tubes are small tubes that run between middle ears and the upper throat. They are responsible for equalizing ear pressure and draining fluid from the middle ear, the part of the ear behind the eardrum. The eustachian tubes are usually closed except for when chew, swallow, or yawn.
These passageways are small in size and can get plugged for a variety of reasons. Blocked eustachian tubes can cause pain, hearing difficulties, and a feeling of fullness in the ears. Such a phenomenon is referred to as eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD).
Symptoms of ETD may include:
- fullness in the ears
- feeling like ears are “plugged”
- changes to hearing
- ringing in the ear, also known as tinnitus
- clicking or popping sounds
- ticklish feelings in the ears
The length of time that ETD symptoms last depends on the initial cause. Symptoms from altitude changes, for example, may resolve once you get back to the altitude you’re used to. Illnesses and other causes of ETD may result in longer-lasting symptoms.
Allergies and illnesses like the common cold are the most common causes of ETD. These conditions may cause your eustachian tubes to become inflamed or clogged with mucus. People with sinus infections are more likely to develop plugged eustachian tubes.
Altitude changes can also cause problems with your ears. You may experience the effects of altitude change from:
- traveling through mountains
- flying on a plane
- riding an elevator
Anyone can experience ETD from time to time, but some people are more prone to this condition.
- Obesity can increase your risk because fatty deposits may accumulate around the eustachian tubes.
- Smoking can damage protective hairs in the middle ear, called cilia, and increase the chances of mucus getting stuck.
- People with allergies may experience more mucus and congestion, leading to increased risk.
Children are at a greater risk of ETD. This is because their eustachian tubes are smaller, which increases the chance that mucus and germs will become trapped. They also have more frequent colds and are more prone to infections because their immune systems are still developing.
ETD is diagnosed through a physical exam. First, doctor will ask about pain, hearing changes, or other symptoms you are experiencing. Then doctor will look inside ear, carefully checking ear canal and passages into the nose and throat.
Sometimes ETD may be mistaken for other conditions involving the ears. One example is abnormal patency of the eustachian tubes. This is a condition in which the tubes frequently open on their own.
Minor symptoms may be resolved with home remedies, especially if they aren’t caused by an illness. You can try:
- Chewing gum
- breathing out with nostrils and mouth closed
- using a saline nasal spray to help clean out passageways
- Chronic otitis media, also known as a middle ear infection.
- Otitis media with effusion, often called glue ear. This refers to fluid buildup in the middle ear. It may last for a few weeks, but more severe cases can cause permanent hearing damage.
- Eardrum retraction, which is when the eardrum is seemingly sucked back further into the canal.
Kali Mur – For Eustachian Tube Blockage Due to Chronic Ear Catarrh
Kali Mur is a highly effective treatment for Eustachian tube blockage. Eustachian tube blockage due to chronic catarrh of the middle ear can be handled successfully with Kali Mur. In such cases, there is plugged sensation in the ears along with deafness. This sensation is accompanied by snapping and popping sounds in the ear.
Pulsatilla – Blockage When Accompanied by a Severe Earache
Pulsatilla is a suitable treatment for Eustachian tube blockage when accompanied by a severe earache. The earache may get worse at night. There is a blockage of the ear with difficulty in hearing. History of ear infection with the discharge of yellow, thick pus are other symptoms indicating the use of Pulsatilla. Other features are noises in the ear like wind or rushing water, and itching deep inside the ears.
Hydrastis – Blockage With Marked Dullness of Hearing
Hydrastis is a well-indicated treatment for Eustachian tube blockage where dullness in hearing is a symptom. Thick, offensive, irritating discharge from the ear may also be noted. Another marked symptom is post nasal drip. There is also hawking of thick yellow mucus from the throat.
Merc Sol – Blockage With Marked Tinnitus
Merc Sol is mainly useful for blocked Eustachian tubes when tinnitus is prominent. The noises in the ear may be roaring, ringing or whistling in nature. Tearing pain in the ear may also be experienced. Otorrhea with offensive pus, often stained with blood, may be found. Difficulty in hearing gets temporarily better by blowing the nose or after swallowing.
Kali Bichrome And Silicea – Other Effective Medicines for Eustachian Tube Blockage
Kali Bichrome and Silicea are other very helpful cures for Eustachian tube blockage. Kali Bichrome works well in cases of blocked Eustachian tube from chronic sinusitis. Thick, stringy postnasal discharge with blocked Eustachian tubes are indicative of using Kali Bichrome. Silicea is to be used in Eustachian tube blockage when a chronic history of pus-filled ear discharge is present. The ear feels blocked, and hissing noises in the ear may also arise.
Gelsemium – Blockage When Accompanied by Vertigo and Dizziness
When vertigo accompanies Eustachian tube blockage, then Gelsemium is a good choice. There is catarrh of the ear, earache, deafness and blocked Eustachian tubes. Vertigo, dizziness or a lightheaded feeling also occur in some cases. Vertigo is worse while walking. A sudden head movement may also trigger dizziness.e.t.c