What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?

What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?

Chronic ear problems may be an indication of Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD), a condition caused when the Eustachian tube(s) don’t open and close properly.1 The tube may be narrowed or clogged and this can cause pain, pressure and other symptoms. Studies have shown that up to 5% of adults in the U.S. have ETD.2

Photo of male airplane passenger, holding his hands up to his head and ears, apparently experiencing Eustachian tube pain

Signs and Symptoms

While symptoms of ETD can be mild and may resolve after a few days, pain or discomfort in your ear can be a sign of Eustachian tube dysfunction. Common symptoms associated with persistent ETD (for more than 12 weeks) include3.

  • Muffled hearing
  • Fullness of the ear
  • Pain in the ear
  • Inability to equilibrate middle ear (ME) pressure
  • Tinnitus
  • Dizziness

During the past month, if any of these symptoms were either a moderate or severe problem, it may be time to talk to your doctor. Only a doctor can determine if you have persistent ETD.

To help you start the conversation, download the Patient Questionnaire or find a trained doctor near you.

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  1. Llewellyn, A., Norman, G., Harden, M., Coatesworth, A., Kimberling, D., Schilder, A. and McDaid, C. (2014). Interventions for adult Eustachian tube dysfunction: a systematic review. HEALTH TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT, 18; 1-180.
  2. Ockermann, T., Reineke, U., Upile, T., Ebmeyer, F., Sudho􀄣, H.H. (2010). Balloon Dilatation Eustachian Tuboplasty: A Clinical Study. Laryngoscope, 120:1411–1416.
  3. Randrup, T.S. & Ovesen, T. (2015) Balloon Eustachian Tuboplasty: A Systematic Review. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 152(3); 383–392.


Disclaimer: The information featured here is not intended as medical advice, or to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

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© Acclarent, Inc. 2021 Last Updated on 9/1/2021