Eustachian Tubes

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.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology
Last Revised September 10, 2012

Last Revised: September 10, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

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

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