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.

Current as of: July 29, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine