What Is the Function of the Eustachian Tube?

The Eustachian tube is used to equalize air pressure between the middle ear and the surrounding area, but it is also used to drain mucus from the middle ear. Keeping the pressure in a person's head equalized helps with balance and preventing dizziness. The removal of mucus keeps infection from spreading to the middle ear.

The Eustachian tube connects the middle ear cavity with the part of the body called the nasopharynx. The opening and closing function of the middle ear not only regulates the pressure in the ear, but it helps protect the eardrum from loud noises. When the Eustachian tube is not working properly, there are numerous symptoms that can appear. There can be pain in the area due to the unequal pressure between the middle ear and the rest of the area. Dizziness can occur from the incorrect pressure in the head. The tube not working properly can be one of the main causes of ringing in the ears. Sometimes the issues with the Eustachian tube can be alleviated or corrected by swallowing, yawning or chewing. These motions cause the pressure to fluctuate in the tube and can sometimes even the pressure back out. Issues with the Eustachian tube not functioning properly can be caused by sinus infections, colds or other upper respiratory infections.