The Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the back of the throat and nose. It is about 3.6 cm in length.
A normal Eustachian tube normally remains closed and opens when one is swallowing, yawning or sneezing. This helps to regulate equalisation of middle ear pressure and atmospheric pressure. Active opening of the Eustachian tube lasts for 400ms only.
When the Eustachian tube remains open and does not close, it is referred to as a Patulous Eustachian tube (PET)
Symptoms of Patulous Eustachian tube
- Autophony – hearing your own voice louder than usual or echoing /hearing a loud crackling sound when chewing /hearing your own breath sounds
- Hearing loss
- Blocked sensation in the ear
- Lying down relieves symptoms
- Use of decongestants worsens the symptoms
These symptoms can either be continuous or episodic, occurring in one or both ears, and typically diminish or disappear when one is lying down.
Causes of Patulous Eustachian tube
- Sudden weight loss
- Hormonal changes – for example during pregnancy, or use of birth control pills
- Inappropriate use of decongestants
- TMJ (temporal mandibular joint) syndrome
- Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy
Tympanometry tests are useful in PET diagnosisMake you appointment today for PET testing at Golden Ears Audiology Clinic