Looking to lead a stronger, healthier life?
Sign up for our Wellness Wire newsletter for all sorts of nutrition, fitness, and wellness wisdom.

Now we’re in this together.
Thanks for subscribing and having us along on your health and wellness journey.

See all Healthline's newsletters »

Pharyngotympanic tube

The eustachian tube is a canal that connects the middle ear to the nasopharynx, which consists of the upper throat and the back of the nasal cavity. It controls the pressure within the middle ear, making it equal with the air pressure outside the body.

Most of the time the eustachian tube is closed, opening only during activities such as yawning, swallowing, and chewing, to allow air through the passage between the middle ear and nasopharynx. When atmospheric pressure changes rapidly, causing a sudden feeling of blockage in the ear (such as during airplane travel), these activities can be done on purpose to open the tube and equalize the pressure within the middle ear.

When the eustachian tube will not open enough to equalize pressure, symptoms such as discomfort, dizziness, or ringing in the ear may result. Visual examination of the eardrum with a lighted scope helps to determine if the cause is inflammation, swelling, or fluid in the ear. Conditions such as nasal congestion, infection of the ear or sinus, or allergies may cause these symptoms and lead to eustachian tube problems. These causes can often be treated with decongestant medication or antibiotics, but in severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
Co-developed by:

In Depth: Pharyngotympanic tube

Debugging Tools

Level: 1
Frame: 16
Toggle Hotspot
VP Data Tool
HexTable json from Steve
Steve's ajax layer update call:
[still on original layer]

Ad values:

adModel.dfpAdSite: hn.us.hl.bm.x.x.x
adParams['k1']: otherentproblems,eustachian_tube,8002214

More on BodyMaps

Take a Video Tour

Learn how to rotate, look inside and explore the human body. Take the tour

BodyMaps Feedback

How do you like BodyMaps? How can we improve it? Tell us what you think