Video transcription

Hi I'm Dr. David Hill and today we're going to talk about how to clear the Eustachian tubes. Now the first question is, what are Eustachian tubes? Eustachian tubes connect the middle ear, that's the air filled space on the inside of the eardrum the middle ear by the way contains bones that carry vibrations from the eardrum to the nerves in the cochlea that turn those vibrations into signals the brain can interpret as sound. The middle ear is filled with air, and normally it needs to be pretty much at the same pressure as the air on the outside world so that the eardrum can vibrate and function. If the pressure becomes too great or too small within the middle ear that can lead to pain. You can also get fluid in the middle ear and even pus that's a middle ear infection or Otitis Media. Now the Eustachian tubes connect the middle ear into the inside of the nose and they allow air to go back and forth. However they are very thin tubes and if they become clogged for some reason air pressure and fluid can build up in the middle ear. So it's nice to keep them open. How do you do that? Well the most common reason that they become clogged is colds, viral infections in other words or also allergies. Unfortunately with a cold there's not a whole lot to do. With children we really discourage the use of decongestants these days. Those include mediations like Pseudoephedrine or Phenylephrine that you might fine in Tylenol Cold or in Pediacare or other children's cold formulas. So we know they don't work very well. We know there's a high risk of side effects with these drugs. We don't recommend them any more. However, saline drops in the nose may help clear out that mucosa and assist with drainage. Now if a child has been sick with cold symptoms for more than ten days we start to suspect a bacterial sinus infection and in that case antibiotics may help clear the Eustachian tubes. If the Eustachian tubes are clogged as a result of an allergy then allergy medicines like antihistamines or even better, inhaled nasal steroids can help out with that a lot. There's another class of allergy medicines that includes medicines like Singulair for example. These aren't exactly as powerful but they can be a useful adjunct or helper medicine when you're trying to treat allergies. So in order to clear the Eustachian tubes you want to know what's wrong, is it a cold, is it allergies, is it a sinus infection and you want to do what's appropriate. For colds saline drops in the nose or even a saline nasal wash. For sinus infections, antibiotics and for allergies, medicines that treat allergies like inhaled nasal steroids and antihistamines. Talking about clearing out Eustachian tubes, I am Dr. David Hill.