Strategies for Managing Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Last update on Oct, 23, 2023

Have you ever experienced a feeling of fullness or discomfort in your ear? You may have heard a popping or crackling sound when you swallow or yawn. These symptoms could indicate Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD).

The Eustachian tube is a small passageway that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. Its primary function is to equalize the pressure in the middle ear with the pressure outside the body.

However, when the Eustachian tube becomes blocked or doesn't open properly, it can result in symptoms that may include ear pain, muffled hearing, and even dizziness.

How to Manage ETD

If you or someone you know suffers from ETD, the experience can be uncomfortable and disruptive. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to manage this condition.

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction Exercises

Another strategy is to perform specific exercises that can help to open up the Eustachian tube.

Jaw movement exercises

Open and close your mouth, move your jaw from side to side, and push your jaw forward and backward.


Yawning can help to open up the Eustachian tubes.


Swallowing can equalize pressure in the middle ear.

Chewing gum

Chewing gum can help to activate the muscles used in swallowing and yawning.

Remember to always consult with your doctor before starting any new exercises.

Eustachian Tubes and Allergies: What's the Connection?

Allergies can cause inflammation in the nasal passages, leading to swelling and pressure in the Eustachian tube.

This inflammation can obstruct the Eustachian tubes, preventing them from properly equalizing pressure in the middle ear and causing symptoms such as ear pain, fullness, and muffled hearing to occur.

If you suffer from allergies, talking to your hearing care provider about proper ETD treatment options is important.

Common Disorders That Can Affect the Eustachian Tubes

In addition to allergies, other common conditions that can cause the eustachian tubes to malfunction include:

  • Otitis media: an infection in the middle ear that can lead to inflammation and blockage of the eustachian tubes.
  • Barotrauma: a sudden change in pressure, such as during air travel or scuba diving, that causes damage to the eardrum and surrounding tissues.

It's essential to see a hearing care provider if you're experiencing any symptoms related to ETD.

Taking a Proactive Role in Your Hearing Health

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, practicing regular ear hygiene can benefit you, such as:

  • Keeping your ears clean and dry
  • Avoiding exposure to loud noises
  • Wearing ear protection when necessary
  • Getting regular checkups with a hearing health provider

Be sure to talk to a hearing care provider about these strategies and other treatment options that may be available to you.

In more severe cases, for example, a provider may recommend a procedure to place a small tube in the eardrum to help equalize pressure and relieve symptoms. Surgery may be necessary in rare cases where a structural issue causes ETD.

If you are experiencing ETD symptoms, working with a hearing care provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment options is essential. Managing Eustachian Tube Dysfunction can be challenging, but it's possible to find relief from your symptoms with proper management.

If you're looking for a hearing care provider near you, we can help! Use our clinic locator tool to connect with a professional in your community.

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