EAR BLOCKAGE/ EUSTACHAIN TUBE DISORDER:
A lot of patients visit the doctor with the complaints of blocked sensation in the ear.
The most common cause of this a Eustachian tube disorder.
· What is Eustachian Tube?
ET is a tube that connects the middle ear (part of the ear behind the ear drum) and the back side of your nose (nasopharynx). This tube is responsible for ventilating the middle ear, draining the fluids from the middle ear to the nose and equalizing pressure in the nose and the ear.
When this tube is unable to do, this causes feeling of blockage or fullness or heaviness in the ear along with some amount of hearing loss.
· What causes the tube to be blocked?
The most common causes of blocked tubes is common cold/cough and allergies.
Other causes can be
Activities involving sudden change of altitude such as flying, gliding, scuba diving, mountaineering
In rare cases enlarged adenoids or tumours in the nasopharynx (upper part of the throat behind the nose)
· Sequelae of Eustachian Tube Dysfunction:
In untreated cases it can lead to middle ear infections and damage to the ear drum and middle ear (part of the ear behind the ear drum)
· Treatment of Eustachian tube dysfunction:
Majority of the cases get treated easily by medicines and nasal sprays
Sometimes a few tests are needed to aid the diagnosis ( impedance audiometry)
A few cases which do not get better on medications need surgical management:
1. Myringotomy – The ENT surgeon makes a tiny incision in the eardrum and any fluid in the middle ear is removed through suction. A tiny hollow pressure equalization tube may be inserted which provides middle ear ventilation for 6-12 months.
2. Eustachian Tube Balloon Dilation – A small balloon is inflated into the Eustachian tube through the nose to clear the passageway for mucus and air.