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.

Current as of: September 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review:

Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics

Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine

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