What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction? - Painful Sinus and Ear Pressure Relief

Eustachain Tube DysfunctionWith the year-end holidays coming up, some people are already dreading their upcoming air travel; unlike most travelers, they are not concerned about the long security lines, the delayed flights, the cramped seats in the planes or the rude fellow passengers. High altitude flying can cause a variety of physical symptoms, despite the high-quality pressurization systems available on modern aircraft. During take-off and right after the pilot announces that the plane has begun its descent for landing, some passengers feel painful sinus and ear pressure that causes them to hear muffled sounds.

Studies reveal that about 30% of fliers feel ear pain due to changes in air pressure, and the percentage of sufferers increase dramatically if they suffer from allergies or fly with a cold or flu. The pain is caused by unequal pressure that develops between the air in the middle ear and the air outside the ear. There is a tube that connects the back of your throat to the area just behind your eardrum that is called the Eustachian tube. The eustachian tube function is to equalize the pressure in the air behind your eardrum with the air around you. In some people, because of inflammation or infection, swelling around the tube will occur causing the tube to not function properly.

The Eustachian tube is a narrow tube which links the back of the nose to the middle ear. It is normally closed but opens when you swallow, yawn or chew. It has three main functions: to protect the middle ear from sources of disease, to ventilate the middle ear, and to help drain secretions away from the middle ear. Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is the inability of the Eustachian tube to adequately perform these functions and failure of the valve of the Eustachian tube to open and/or close properly. ETD is estimated to effect up to 5% of the adult population. Those who suffer from ETD may feel unsteadiness or dizziness, pressure or pain, muffled hearing or ringing in the ears daily when hiking, riding cars through hills, even riding an elevator to top floors.

In fact, long-term ETD can be associated with serious conditions such as damage to the middle ear and the eardrum, adhesive otitis, perforation of eardrum and Cholestetoma. Dr. Bublik has been successful in treating adults with recurrent ETD with Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation. This procedure is specifically designed to dilate the Eustachian tubes for patients with persistent ETD; clinical studies have shown this procedure to have a 99.7% success rate.

In a quick in-office procedure with no downtime, Dr. Bublik uses a catheter to insert a small balloon through the patient’s nose and into the Eustachian tube. Once inflated, the balloon opens up a pathway for mucus and air to flow through the Eustachian tube to restore proper function.  After the Eustachian tube is dilated, Dr. Bublik deflates and removes the balloon.  

Don’t let ETD impact the quality of your life. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Bublik, so he can evaluate your condition and advise you if Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation is the right treatment option for you.

Video Blog on Eustachian Tube Dysfunction and Treatment

Dr. Bublik explains a common condition called Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, which can feel like the ears need to “pop” but cannot. A minimally invasive procedure can be performed in the office to open the ears and relieve pressure with the patient awake and with minimal pain. Watch to the end to see a real case!

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction Video Blog

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