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.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Current as ofMay 4, 2017

Current as of: May 4, 2017

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine