The eustachian tube is the canal in the ear that connects the middle ear or central cavity to the nasopharynx, which includes the upper throat and back of the nasal cavity. The eustachian tube ensures the air pressure within the middle ear is equal to the air pressure outside of the ear. At complete rest, the eustachian tube remains closed. However, it opens up during actions such as yawning, swallowing, and chewing, to allow air to pass through. Problems arise when the eustachian tube fails in equalizing pressure.
Sometimes the eustachian tube fails at its primary job of equalizing pressure between the middle ear and the air pressure outside of the body. Because the canal of the eustachian tube is very thin, it is prone to blockage and may get plugged for various reasons. This occurrence is called eustachian tube dysfunction or ETD. This occurrence results in a variety of symptoms but usually goes away on its own. A variety of preventions and treatments aid in preventing or lessening the effects of ETD.
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