The Eustachian tube are little canals that run from the middle ear to the back of the throat and nose. When the tube becomes blocked or infected it can cause the sensation of blocked or muffled sounds. While serious cases need medical attention, mild or moderate cases are usually treatable at home.
The Function of the Eustachian Tube
The Eustachian tube has two functions, the first is to regulate ear pressure, and the second is to drain any excess fluids from the middle ear to your throat, so it can be eliminated.
Causes of Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
A common factor can simply be built up wax in the ear. Other common factors include inflammation and fluid or mucus build up. This can happen as the result of a cold, allergies or a sinus infection. If the fluid becomes infected you can develop an ear infection.
Symptoms of Eustachian Tube Problems
Sounds are muffled
Ears feel blocked, plugged up or full
Ringing in your ears
Problems with your balance
Popping or tingling in ears
Home Care Options
1. Valsalva Maneuver-Take a deep breath and hold it, while you pinch your nose closed and close your mouth. Gently blow the air out through your closed nostrils. When you feel a “pop” you have succeeded. It’s important to do this gently, as using force can damage or rupture the eardrum.
2. Edmonds Maneuver-Push your chin forward and move it from side to side. If the ear block is mild this can “pop” them open.
3. Toynbee Maneuver-Pinch your nose closed, take a sip of water and swallow. Repeat until your ears “pop” open.
4. Frenzel Maneuver – Pinch your nose closed, and using your tongue make a ‘K’ or clicking sound.
5. Warm washcloth– This can ease ear pain. The heat may also help to break up the congestion in the Eustachian tube.
6. Nasal decongestants-Nasal decongestants may help to open up swollen nasal passages and allow the eustachian tube to drain.
7. Anti-inflammatories-Products like Medizyme can help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
8. Otovent Balloon– You connect a balloon to a nose piece. Insert the nose piece into the nostril. Close the other nostril with your finger, while you inflate the balloon by blowing through the nostril. Repeat on opposite sides until you experience a pressure increase or “pop” in the ear.
9. Mullein & Garlic Oil-This is a gentle option to relieve pain and inflammation in the ear.
10. Homeopathics-There are many homeopathics that can provide pain relief. While this is not an all-inclusive list, it is a list of commonly used options. Talk with your practitioner to determine if any of these options are a good option for you:
Belladonna-Throbbing pain. Flushed hot face, ears.
Calc carb-Throbbing, burning stitch like pain extending to throat.
Chamomilla-Acute stitching pain. Hot ears or one red cheek one pale.
Pulsatilla-Ear is hot, red, swollen, stitching pain.
Silicea-Hard to hear. Stopped up ear, frequent “popping”
Kali Mur-Chronic catarrhal conditions of middle ear. Swollen glands near ear.
Ferrum Phos-Early stages of otis media, throbbing, noises in ear.
Hydrastis-Dullness of hearing, post nasal drip, coughing thick yellow mucus from throat
While many times this condition can be treated at home, it’s always important to trust your judgement and seek professional help when needed.