We can sometimes feel pain in our ears from pressure building up in the middle ear space (the space behind our eardrums). The middle ear space is closed off and opened to the air pressure in our environment by a tube that connects the ear to the nose and throat, called the Eustachian tube. The Eustachian tube is what helps us be able to “pop” our ears after flying in an airplane or riding in an elevator where the air pressure around us changes. That popping relief sensation is the Eustachian tube in action, matching the air pressure in our ears with the changing air pressure in our environments.
If the Eustachian tube isn’t working properly, it can cause us to feel pressure building up in our ears. This can be uncomfortable, and sometimes painful. It can also cause us to have trouble hearing sometimes.
Why does the Eustachian tube malfunction?
There are several reasons why the Eustachian tube could be malfunctioning. Many times, it has to do with the way allergies affect our sinuses.
How is ear pressure treated?
Since ear pressure is a symptom of another underlying cause, the treatment will be different dependent on the cause. Treatment may consist of:
- Allergy medications
- Eustachian tube balloon procedure
- This procedure involves the ENT placing a tiny balloon inside the Eustachian tube to open the tube up when it fails to open by itself.
- Pressure Equalization tubes (PE/vent tubes)
- PE tubes are tiny tubes that placed in the eardrum by creating a small incision in the eardrum. The tubes allow the built-up pressure in the middle ear space to go down by the creation of direct air passage through the outer ear.
- A myringotomy is similar to a PE tube procedure, where a small incision is placed in the eardrum, but no tube is placed. This is a more short-term solution and is used if the pressure is not suspected to be recurring.
If you think you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of ear pressure, give us a call to schedule an appointment.