The Eustachian tube (ET) is a narrow tube that connects the middle ear space, located behind the tympanic membrane (or eardrum) to the nasopharynx (the space at the back of the nasal passages.
When ET cannot perform its functions well, the condition of Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) results. Patients with ETD describe ear fullness, hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing sensation) and even dizziness. Many patients with ETD report that they feel as if they are “under water,” and that they cannot clear that their ears.
Not all patients with these symptoms have obstructive ETD. Thus, a good ear exam (known as otoscopy) and a special test (tympanometry) are necessary to confirm the diagnosis.