What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction? Ear Blocked and Popping

Here’s a breakdown of what Eustachian Tube Dysfunction is

What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction? Let’s start on what Eustachian tubes are. These tubes are tiny passageways that connect your middle ear to the back of your throat. They play a crucial role in:

  • Equalizing air pressure:When you swallow, yawn, or chew, your Eustachian tubes open briefly,allowing air pressure to balance between your middle ear and the environment. This is important for good hearing and prevents discomfort.
  • Draining fluid:They also drain fluid from your middle ear to keep it healthy.

Eustachian tube dysfunction occurs when these tubes don’t open or close properly. This can lead to a buildup of fluid and pressure in the middle ear, causing symptoms like:

  • Ear fullness or stuffiness
  • Muffled hearing
  • Popping or clicking sounds in the ear
  • Ear pain
  • Dizziness

There are several things that can cause ETD, such as:

  • Colds and allergies
  • Sinus infections
  • Ear infections
  • Changes in air pressure (flying, scuba diving)
  • Smoking

Treatment for ETD typically focuses on managing the underlying cause and relieving symptoms. It may involve:

  • Decongestants
  • Antihistamines
  • Nasal corticosteroids
  • Pain relievers
  • Ear tubes (in severe cases)

If you’re concerned you might have ETD, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and proper treatment.

This video contains a visual explanation of Eustachian tube dysfunction, aimed at helping students of medicine and healthcare professionals prepare for exams.

Written notes on Eustachian tube dysfunction are available on the website at:

20 thoughts on “What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction? Ear Blocked and Popping”

  1. Thank-you so much for such a well done, clear and easy to understand explanation. At my first ENT practice I was told by 2 different doctors that the continuing fullness in my left ear was allergies. I asked why just the one ear, and the ear that gave me severe pain when I had the flu, ruptured while waiting in the emergency? That they prescribed me a steroid nasal spray given for fullness then, that affected my taste & smell. I wish I had read the fine print listing that as a side effect. No answer other than try and figure out what I’m allergic to, surprised that the spray effected me. That wasn’t even the main reason why I was there, it was for the right ear treatment for a vertigo, BPPV, when ear crystals for balance, move out place, a series of head maneuvers, can fix it when it flares up. My taste and smell has improved somewhat but never the same, some things taste weaker, or just don’t taste the same. I gave up for a few years, the pressure came and went for a few days, a week, but the tinnitus never left. I was afraid of medical help after a nasal spray damaged my senses. But now the pressure has returned with dizziness for over a month & getting worse, it’s hard to work, it wakes me up when I turn, I hear a swishing sound and dizziness, I am irritable! Just waiting for an appointment to see another specialist.

  2. There may be an easier solution to eustachian tube dysfunction with the use of Xclear nasal spray that contains mostly xylitol and sea salt. The xylitol does inhibit the Streptococcus mutans bacterial activity, which may be an underlying cause that perpetuates the production of mucus in the Eustachian tube. I'm finally finding relief with the use of Xylitol with sea salt nasal rinse and alternating with the Xlear spray.

  3. Such a beautiful video. Thank you. This describes how I have been feeling…I've even been saying how I want to put a balloon in my ear and blow it up!

  4. Swimming to the bottom of a pool has always been very painful, and I've never been able to pop my ears by plugging my nose and blowing. I must have tiny tubes or something.

  5. "Excellent visual breakdown of Eustachian tube dysfunction! A valuable resource for medical students and healthcare professionals preparing for exams. The accompanying written notes on the website are a great supplement too!"

    "Highly informative video on Eustachian tube dysfunction, perfect for medical students and healthcare professionals. The clear visuals and accompanying notes make it a comprehensive study aid. Great work!"

  6. Nothing worked for me. Nothing. But it seemed to spontaneously resolve after about 8-9 years. Some of these treatments weren't "allowed" by the doctors I visited. Guess I should've tried other doctors.

  7. Thank you so much for this info. This video answered all my questions about eustachian tube dysfunction. Good to be armed with some data before seeing a specialist.


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