EUSTACHIAN TUBE PROBLEMS
The Eustachian tube is a structure that travels from the middle ear to the back of the throat. This structure normally allows one to “pop” their ear. When this tube does not function properly, the individual may have problems with their ear.
When children are born, many times the Eustachian tube is not fully mature. When this occurs, there is negative pressure in the middle ear, which will cause fluid accumulation, referred to as a middle ear effusion. When this becomes infected it is referred to as otitis media and may be treated with antibiotics. When fluid persists in the middle ear, a conductive hearing loss may result. If this persists in infants and young children, speech and language delay may occur. In order to avoid this problem myringotomy with placement of tube may be recommended. This is the creation of a small opening in the eardrum with placement of a tube to keep it open. The result is to allow for normal middle ear pressure, elimination of the fluid and improvement in hearing. Placement of a myringotomy tube only bypasses the abnormally functioning Eustachian tube. These tubes are temporary and frequently extrude on their own. If this occurs before the Eustachian tube has fully matured the individual require replacement of the tube.