Illustration of ear anatomy showing Eustachian tube

What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction?

The condition abbreviated as ETD is the failure of the valve of the Eustachian tube to open and/or close properly which can cause pressure and pain.1,2

Photo of elderly man with painful expression on his face, holding fingers to his ear

What are the causes of ETD?

When the lining of the Eustachian tube becomes swollen, this inflammation can narrow or block the tube, resulting in ETD or dysfunction of the tube.

Photo of physician examining ear of patient potentially suffering from eustachian tube dysfunction

What are my treatment options?

Depending on the severity of your symptoms there are different treatment options that may be available.

“I started hearing things the next day that have always sounded very muffled to me.”

– Patient who had the Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation procedure

Illustration of ear anatomy showing Eustachian tube

The Eustachian Tube: An Inside Look

A narrow canal or passage that leads to the middle ear, the Eustachian tube is normally closed but opens when swallowing, yawning or chewing. This small but important part of the ear has three principal functions3:

  • To protect the middle ear from pathogens—microorganisms including bacteria and viruses that can cause disease3
  • To ventilate the middle ear, helping keep the air pressure equal on either side of the eardrum, enabling it to work properly3
  • To help drain and clear secretions from the middle ear3

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  1. Grimmer, J.F., & Poe, D.S. (2005) Update on Eustachian Tube Dysfunction and the Patulous Eustachian Tube. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head and Heck Surg, 13: 277-282.
  2. Randrup, T.S. & Ovesen, T. (2015) Balloon Eustachian Tuboplasty: A Systematic Review. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 152(3); 383–392.
  3. 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.


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 questions. This site is published by Acclarent, Inc. which is solely responsible for its contents. It is intended for visitors from the United States.


© Acclarent, Inc. 2021. All rights reserved. Last updated on 9/1/2021