Del Rey Sinus & Allergy Institute applies balloon dilation technology to solve eustachian tube conditions
Have you noticed how your ears feel pressure and “pop” when you are in an airplane that’s climbing or descending? Have you felt ear pressure when diving in the pool or ocean? That’s because there is a difference in pressure between the outer ear and the middle ear (and inner ear). A passageway called the eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the back of your nose and throat and equalizes the pressure in your ear.
If you feel pressure in your head under these conditions, it can usually be helped if you swallow or yawn. This opens the eustachian tube and allows air to flow into or out of your middle ear, equalizing the pressure.
Most of the time, the pressure will equalize on its own or with the maneuvers mentioned above. Sometimes though, if you have allergies, a cold or sinus infection, the eustachian tube can become blocked and doesn’t work correctly. In that case, you may have muffled hearing or hear clicking in your ears. When the fluid in the middle ear can’t drain naturally to the back of your throat, it can become infected by bacteria or a virus. The trapped fluid in the middle ear is why most ear infections happen there.
In addition to allergy, cold or sinus infection, the eustachian tubes may not work due to:
- Upper respiratory infections
- Nasal polyps
- Aggressive ear cleaning
If the middle ear becomes infected, you could have ear pain, difficulty sleeping, muffled hearing, fever, headache or loss of balance. Ear infections are very common among children, because the eustachian tubes in children are shorter and less effective at drainage than adult tubes.
If you have chronic eustachian tube blockage or malfunction, you may be helped by dilation of the eustachian tube. The Food and Drug Administration just recently (September, 2016) approved the use of balloon dilation of the eustachian tubes, and Del Rey ENT Associates is a leading practitioner of this advanced technique. It involves no cutting, no bleeding or packing and can be done in our office in just a few minutes.