eustachian tube

The eustacian tube is the pressure equalizing tube that connects the middle ear cavity behind the eardrum to the rear of the mouth (oropharynx). The openings are hidden up behind the soft palate, to the side and just in front of the adenoids. Opening and closing of the eustachian tube causes the clicking or popping experienced in the ears when yawning or chewing. Chronic adenoidal enlargement can cause obstruction of the eustachian tube at its mouth and contribute to chronic ear fluid.

If this tube is blocked by congestion of the membranes of the nose and throat for very long (as can happen with colds or allergies), then the natural tendency of the bloodstream to rapidly absord any free oxygen and CO2 will cause the formation of a partial vacuum in the middle ear cavity. This phenomenon produces pressure on the eardrum and can lead to earache mimicking middle ear infection.

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