Conditions We Treat

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Conditions We Treat

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Kaplan Sinus Relief offers eustachian tube dysfunction treatment

Although there are many ways to provide relief for clogged eustachian tubes at home, over-the-counter decongestants and saline washes are typically only temporary solutions that provide those suffering from chronically clogged ears and sinus pressure momentary relief without addressing the underlying issue.

If you or a loved one are suffering from chronic eustachian tube dysfunction and want to seek long-term relief, call Kaplan Sinus Relief to schedule an appointment. We will work with you to figure out the best path to long-lasting comfort.

What is eustachian tube dysfunction?

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is a condition in which the tubes that connect your middle ears to your throat become blocked. Your eustachian tubes regulate pressure in your sinuses and drain fluid from your inner ears. Clogged eustachian tubes can lead to all sorts of problems ranging from difficulty hearing to intense pain. 

There are a few types of ETD:

  • Patulous ETD occurs when a person’s eustachian tubes remain open all of the time, causing sound to travel irregularly from the nasal cavity to the ears and distorting how you hear.
  • Obstructive ETD occurs when a person’s eustachian tubes do not open enough, resulting in the accumulation of fluid, heightened pressure, and risk of infection.
  • Baro-challenge-induced ETD occurs when a person’s eustachian tubes do not open properly and are therefore affected negatively by changes in altitude.

Although ETD is more commonly associated with children, it is not uncommon for adults of all ages to experience it. The most common causes of ETD include:

  • Changes in altitude or air pressure
  • Excessive mucus buildup
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Chronic allergies
  • Sinus infections

How long does eustachian tube dysfunction last? Most cases of ETD that are caused by changes in elevation or air pressure will resolve themselves within days, but ETD caused by inflammation or infection can last two weeks or longer. 

Eustachian tube treatment is likely only necessary for those experiencing chronic symptoms and who have not found relief from eustachian tube dysfunction treatment at home.

Eustachian tube dysfunction symptoms

How do you know if you’re suffering from chronic ETD? Common eustachian tube dysfunction symptoms include:

  • Ears feeling full or clogged
  • Muffled or distorted sounds
  • Clicking or popping sensations or noises
  • Pain in one or both ears
  • Ringing in one or both ears (tinnitus)
  • Problems with equilibrium
  • Dizziness or nausea

If you are suffering from any of these eustachian tube dysfunction symptoms, have attempted home treatment, or the symptoms have not been alleviated after two or more weeks, you should speak to a sinus specialist to address the underlying cause and seek treatment.

What is the fastest way to unblock eustachian tubes?

If you believe that your eustachian tubes are clogged, you can attempt to relieve some pressure and unblock them yourself using the following methods:

  • Swallowing, yawning, or chewing gum
  • Take a deep breath, pinch your nose, and blow out of your nose
  • Over-the-counter decongestants 
  • Nasal spray
  • Antihistamines

If these methods do not work, and your blocked eustachian tubes do not resolve themselves within a week or so, you should call a sinus specialist for advice.

Is eustachian tube dysfunction curable?

Like many chronic sinus conditions, eustachian tube dysfunction is treatable but not technically curable — although with proper treatment you can decrease the likelihood that you experience eustachian tube inflammation again.

What happens if Eustachian tube dysfunction is left untreated?

If you are suffering from chronic eustachian tube dysfunction and do not get the proper treatment, it could lead to serious complications. Untreated ETD complications could include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Damage to the eardrum 
  • Damage to the middle ear
  • Infections and infection-related complications

Eustachian tube treatment options

Aside from the at-home methods already discussed above, the remaining treatment options will involve going to a specialist and getting a procedure. We know it doesn’t sound fun, but we’ve got good news: Kaplan Sinus Relief offers eustachian tube balloon dilation, a modern type of eustachian tube treatment that doesn’t require any cutting of the skin, takes only a few minutes, and has a quick recovery time.

During the procedure, a small balloon is inserted into your eustachian tube, slowly inflated to widen the inflamed or blocked pathways, and removed. Just like that! The process is usually finished within a few minutes before you are sent on your way. 

If you’re wondering what to expect after eustachian tube balloon dilation, you can expect to return to your normal activities within 24 hours! For 1-2 weeks you should avoid any serious exercise and use a saline rinse according to your doctor’s recommendations, but after one day of rest, most people are ready to get back to their lives. 

Eustachian tube balloon dilation is virtually painless, quick, effective, and safe

Continue reading: Sinus surgery recovery tips

Get chronic eustachian tube dysfunction treatment at Kaplan Sinus Relief

If over-the-counter methods aren’t doing the trick and you want to learn more about eustachian tube dysfunction treatment, look no further. Repeated use of antihistamines, decongestants, or steroids that are not resolving inflammation or blockage in your eustachian tubes can actually worsen your ETD. 

If you or a loved one has been suffering from eustachian tube dysfunction, relief is in sight. With eustachian tube balloon dilation, you can be on your way to clearer pathways in just one afternoon.

Dr. Kaplan is a pioneer of cutting-edge sinus treatments like balloon sinuplasty in Houston. He is dedicated to providing long-term relief for his patients suffering from stubborn, chronic sinus issues, and putting them on the road to breathing easily. Schedule an appointment at Kaplan Sinus Relief to start your journey today!


4101 Greenbriar Street, Suite 320

Houston, TX 77098