Eustachian tubes

Ear anatomy showing ear canal, eardrum in middle ear, and eustachian tube coming out of middle ear.

When you yawn or swallow, the eustachian tubes open briefly and make the air pressure equal inside and outside the ears.

The eustachian tubes drain fluid from the ears. But if a tube can't open, fluid can get trapped in the middle ear. This creates pressure that can cause ear pain.

Current as of: May 4, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine