Young children especially ages one to six years are at particular risk for Eustachian tube dysfunction

Emobileclinic Trending Topic:Eustachian tube dysfunction in Infant

Chronic blockage of the Eustachian tube is called Eustachian tube dysfunction. This can occur when the lining of the nose becomes irritated and inflamed, narrowing the Eustachian tube opening or its passageway. Young children (especially ages one to six years) are at particular risk for Eustachian tube dysfunction, serous otitis media, and acute otitis media because they have very narrow Eustachian tubes. Since children in daycare are highly prone to getting upper respiratory tract infections, they tend to get more ear infections compared to children that are cared for at home.

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Presdisposing Factors

Illnesses like the common cold or influenza.

Pollution and cigarette smoke.

Obesity.

Treatment Options

Identification and treatment of nasal allergies may also help to reduce the swelling in the lining of the Eustachian tube. Identifying the particular allergen a patient is sensitive to and eliminating it from the environment may reduce the patient’s symptoms. Allergy shots may also provide some help, although it may take a long time to notice beneficial effects. Intranasal steroids act to reduce inflammation of the mucosal lining of the nose and may provide some benefit to patients with Eustachian tube dysfunction.

Self-Inflation of the Ears: it is possible to forcibly blow air through the Eustachian tube into the middle ear by pinching the nose closed and “popping the ear.” Another way to do this is to blow up balloons. The pressure required to expand a balloon is usually enough to push air up the Eustachian tube. This is a very useful maneuver and may be repeated as often as necessary, whenever a sense of pressure or fullness in the ear develops. This should not be performed when a cold or nasal discharge is present as this may drive infected mucous into the middle ear and cause an ear infection.

Surgical Treatment

The primary goal of surgical treatment is to bypass the Eustachian tube and re-establish ventilation of the middle ear. This will restore hearing, relieve pressure sensation in the ear, and reduce the tendency for middle ear infections. It can be done through any of the following:

Myringotomy

Pressure Equalization Tubes

Prevention of Middle Ear Problems with Flying

Self-Inflation of the Ears: this is a forceful blow of air through the Eustachian tube into the middle ear by pinching the nose closed.

Swallow Frequently During Airplane Descent: Normally the Eustachian tubes are closed except when you swallow or yawn. Have available some chewing gum, hard candy, or liquid refreshment to assist frequent swallowing while the plane is descending. Do not sleep during the last part of the flight as you may awake with an earache and a Eustachian tube that has already locked closed.

Nasal Decongestion: it helps to reduce swelling in the lining of the tube and open its passageway. These medications should be taken so that their peak activity is during the last hour of flight. Generally, oral decongestants should be taken from two to three hours before the anticipated arrival time while nasal sprays should be used about one hour before arrival.

 

 



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