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. Sometimes your ears will “pop”or crackle if you are at high altitude in an airplane, or diving in a pool or deep water. This is because there’s a difference in pressure between your middle ear and the outer ear.
Most of the time, the pressure will equalize on its own or if you yawn. Sometimes, the eustachian tube can become blocked and doesn’t work correctly, particularly if you have allergies, a cold or sinus infection. 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.
For chronic ear infections or other issues that may be related to eustachian tube conditions, call or email us for an appointment. and evaluation.