The Eustachian tube is a tube that runs from the back of the nose to the middle ear. The tube opens to allow air to pass into the middle ear and equalise the middle ear pressure. If the tube isn’t working well you may get:
- frequent painful middle ear infections (acute otitis media)
- hearing loss due to fluid in the middle ear (otitis media with effusion or glue ear)
- retracted/damaged ear drums due to low middle ear pressure (atelectatic ear disease or cholesteatoma)
- ear pain during plane flights (barotrauma or pressure trauma)
Eustachian tube problems are common in infants and children and in adults after a cold. Often the tube improves with grown and time.
Options for treatment in the meantime are:
- Wait to see if the tube and ears improve over 3 months
- Try to force the tube to open by “popping” the ears, nose blowing or using the Otovent device
- Have middle ear ventilation tubes inserted
How to use an Otovent device
You can buy the Otovent device from our clinic or your pharmacy. Use the device three times a day for 4 weeks then once a day until you have your audiogram (hearing test) and next appointment with the surgeon.
If the ears have improved, you can use the Otovent once a week to keep the ears healthy.
If the ears and hearing haven’t improved, you may need to have ventilation tubes (grommets) inserted.