When pressure increases in the air around you, your Eustachian tubes are responsible for balancing things out inside your ears. The problem is that these tubes can be blocked by allergies, sinus problems or a cold. The result is discomfort and potentially an ear infection.

The Eustachian tubes are tiny. They only measure about 1.5 inches in length. These tubes, which are only a few millimeters in diameter, connect your ears, nose and throat. The tubes open and close depending on what you are doing. During speech, or while yawing and swallowing, the tubes open. Fluid from your ears drains to the back of your throat by means of these tubes. They also occasionally open up to allow pressure to be regulated.

If you are suffering from a cold or allergies, swelling may cause the Eustachian tubes to be unable to perform their usual function. Sinus congestion can also block these tubes. In children, a buildup of fluid can be dangerous and result in temporary or even permanent hearing damage. Children are more susceptible to inner ear problems because their Eustachian tubes are not done developing and cannot drain fluid down the throat like they do for adults.

Sometimes flying on an airplane can increase problems with the Eustachian tubes because of the cabin pressure changes. To limit this effect, you may wish to chew gum. This will increase saliva production and cause you to swallow more frequently. Frequent swallowing will keep the Eustachian tubes open.

There are a number of different ways to treat ear aches that are caused by Eustachian tube issues. Proper breathing techniques can be of assistance. Also, if an infection occurs, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic for you. If the problem is due to inflammation, a corticosteroid may be prescribed to reduce the swelling and help fluid to drain. A final option is the surgical implanting of tubes into the ear drums to keep swelling from being able to block the tubes. This procedure is more frequently performed on children in an effort to preserve their hearing when it is being threatened by frequent or severe Eustachian tube blockages.