Eustachian Tubes

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Normal and blocked eustachian tubes

When you yawn or swallow, the eustachian tubes open briefly and make the air pressure equal inside and outside the ears (top picture).

The eustachian tubes drain fluid from the ears. But if a tube can't open, fluid can get trapped in the middle ear (bottom picture). This creates pressure that can cause ear pain.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology