- What is the Eustachian tube?
- What is the function of the Eustachian tube?
- What problems can the Eustachian tube cause?
The Eustachian tube (Eustachian tube, tuba auditiva) is the connection from the middle ear to the nose and throat area. Through this connection, the pressure balance between the tympanic cavity and the outside air takes place. Particularly important is this possibility of pressure equalization in diving, flying and cable car driving. Read all important information about the Eustachian tube here!
What is the Eustachian tube?
The Eustachian tube (Eustachian tube, tuba auditiva) is a three to four centimeter long, tubular connection between the tympanic cavity in the middle ear and the pharynx. The first third of the Eustachian tube, which connects directly to the tympanic cavity, consists of a bony part, the other two thirds, which lead to the throat, are covered by cartilage. The Eustachian tube ends in the pharynx with an opening that is closed at rest by the elastic cartilage.
Inside, the Eustachian tube is lined with a ciliated epithelium under which mucous glands are located. Their number increases toward the throat. The cooperation of the mucous glands with the outward cilia carries secretions and possible foreign bodies through the Eustachian tube out into the pharynx.
What is the function of the Eustachian tube?
The connection between nose and ear over the Eustachian tube serves to equalize the pressure between the tympanic cavity in the middle ear and the nasopharynx and thus with the outside air.
For normal trouble-free hearing, it is necessary that the eardrum can swing freely. However, this is only possible if the air pressure in front of and behind the eardrum is the same. This is ensured by the tuba auditiva as a pressure regulator. It is normally closed and opens only to compensate for pressure differences. This is necessary, for example, when speaking, swallowing or yawning: The opening to the Eustachian tube in the throat is then pulled apart by muscle power and gapes so far that the pressure difference is just balanced. The oblique position of the Eustachian tube creates a valve effect: overpressure from the outside can not reach the middle ear without a swallowing act with movement of the soft palate. From the side of the middle ear but only a slight overpressure is sufficient to compensate for this over the connection nose - ear.
What problems can the Eustachian tube cause?
A tubal catarrh (inflammation and swelling of the mucous membrane in the tuba auditiva) clogs the Eustachian tube. As a result, the air supply in the tympanic cavity is used up. It creates a negative pressure in the middle ear, and the eardrum, on which then only the air pressure from the ear canal acts on one side, loses its ability to vibrate - with the result of deafness until the Eustachian tube is free again.
The inflammation of the Eustachian tube (ie the tubal catarrh) may extend to a tube middle ear catarrh.
Is the Eustachian tube always open, one perceives one's own voice as unpleasantly loud and booming (autophony).