Eustachian tubes and ear infections

The eustachian tube connects the throat and middle ear. You have two tubes, one for each ear. This tube drains fluid from the middle ear into the throat. It also helps keep pressure in the middle ear equal.

During a cold, sinus or throat infection, or an allergy attack, the lining of the eustachian tube can swell and block the tube. Air can't move into or out of the middle ear, so a vacuum effect occurs, which pulls fluid into the middle ear. The fluid builds up in the ear because it can't drain down the throat. Germs can grow in the fluid and cause an infection. This condition is called acute otitis media (ear infection).

Last Updated: February 2, 2009

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.