ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Swallowing Problems Due to Eustachian Tube Malfunction

Swallowing Problems Due to Eustachian Tube Malfunction


If you are experiencing ear pain and it is affecting your ability to swallow, your Eustachian Tube might be the reason. To be sure about the cause, you need to have your condition checked by an ENT doctor right away.


Eustachian Tube

This tube is actually a small canal connecting the middle ear (the part behind the eardrum) with the back of the upper throat and the nose. Its main function is to balance or equalize the air pressure in the middle ear with the pressure of the outside environment.


Eustachian Tube Malfunction

Malfunctioning of this tube occurs if it does not open during yawning or swallowing. When this happens, there will be a difference between the air pressure inside and the air pressure outside the middle ear. You will feel discomfort in your ear as a result. Additionally, you may also experience hearing problems. It is also more than likely that fluid will accumulate behind your eardrum.


Causes of Eustachian Tube Malfunction

When there is air pressure change in the environment without the corresponding change of air pressure in your middle ear, you will feel that your ear is blocked. Your ear drum will not be able to vibrate leading to hearing problems and a feeling of discomfort in your ear.


Vacuum will be created in your middle ear which will draw fluid from the surrounding tissue. Fluid will accumulate behind your ear drum making it more difficult for your eardrum to vibrate.


If you are exposed to sudden altitude changes repeatedly, you are liable to get this condition. Other risks factors include narrow Eustachian tube, ear or sinus infection, and presence of tumors in the nasopharynx.


Symptoms of Eustachian Tube Problems

You can tell if you have this condition if you are experiencing the following:


  • You cannot relieve the condition by yawning, chewing or swallowing
  • Discomfort in the ear
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing loss
  • Pain in the ear if there is a blockage due to infection
  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ear
  • Feeling of clogging or fullness in the ear


Treatments for Eustachian Tube Problems

Thankfully there are a lot of effective treatments for this condition. You can try one of the following:


  1. Take nasal steroids, oral antihistamines or nasal or oral decongestants. They are designed to open up the Eustachian tube.
  2. For ear pains, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen tablets.
  3. You can use an ear popper device which will open the Eustachian tube without using any medication.
  4. If medications are not effective, you need to see an ENT doctor for the right medical diagnosis and procedure to undertake. He may opt for a myringotomy where he will make an incision in your eardrum to drain the accumulated fluid and balance the air pressure inside your middle ear.



HK ENT Specialist Ltd.
Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre
For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,
Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,
Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services

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