Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD)

Normal middle ear function relies on normal eustachian tube function

The Eustachian Tube remains closed; opening when we chew, yawn or swallow. This keeps the air pressure equal on both sides of the eardrum.

The eardrum vibrates easily and you hear clearly.

What is ETD ?

If the Eustachian Tube does not open frequently, air cannot get into the middle ear.

The air pressure on either side of the eardrum becomes unequal

The eardrum may become retracted (sucked in). This makes the eardrum unable to vibrate well, making your hearing dull.

If this continues, fluid may form behind the ear drum, dulling your hearing and making you prone to glue ear and middle ear infection.


  • Dulled hearing
  • Feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Ringing, buzzing, popping or crackling sounds
  • Dizziness
  • Pain

Symptoms can last from a few hours to several weeks or more.


  • Flu
  • Colds
  • Asthma
  • Hayfever
  • Allergies
  • Tonsilitis
  • Large Adenoids
  • Facial Abnormalities
  • Lowered Immune System

Children are particularly prone to ETD as their Eustachian tubes are smaller, more horizontal than an adults and the surrounding cartilage, bone and muscle are still developing.

Improving Eustachian Tube Function

Nose Blowing after showering or bathing 
5 blows to clear your nose | 5 blows to clear your ears

Inhaling Steam from Vicks, Karvol or Tea tree oil added to warm water can help clear the nose and soothe the mucous membranes.

Nasel Sprays can be used to alleviate nasal congestion. Ask your Chemist which one might be suitable.

Visit Your GP to review treatment options if no improvement.
If you have a temperature or fever, swollen glands, increasing pain and feel increasingly unwell SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION

The Eustachian Tube

Connects the middle ear to the back of the throat.
It has 3 functions:

  • Allows air in and out of the middle ear
  • Allows secretions to drain out
  • Stops backflow of fluid from throat to middle ear

This information has been produced by Ear Health Ltd. It is intended as a guide only and is not a complete Medical explanation.