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Disease Profile

Patulous Eustachian Tube

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)



Ear, Nose, and Throat Diseases


Patulous eustachian tube is a benign but symptomatically troubling condition in which the eustachian tube stays open most of the time.[1][2] The eustachian tube is the tube that runs between the middle ear and throat and regulates the ear pressure around the ear drum.[3] Under normal circumstances, it remains closed most of the time, opening only on occasion to equalize air pressure between the middle ear and the exterior environment. Major symptoms include distorted autophony (hearing one's own voice or breathing), echoing which may interfere with speech production, wave-like sounds, and a sensation of fullness in the ear. In severe cases, vertigo and hearing loss may occur. Over time, individuals with patulous eustachian tube may develop serious and even extreme responses to the abnormal sounds and other findings. In most cases, the cause of patulous eustachian tube is unknown. Weight loss and pregnancy may be predisposing factors. Neurologic disorders that cause muscle atrophy such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, and motor neuron disease have been implicated in some cases of patulous eustachian tube. Other cases may be associated with medications such as oral contraceptives or diuretics. Other predisposing factors include fatigue, stress, anxiety, exercise, and temporomandibular joint syndrome.[1] Many treatments have been proposed, however none have shown consistent effectiveness.[2]


In most instances, the cause of patulous eustachian tube is not known. There are several factors that are thought to increase the risk for this condition to develop including:[1][4]


While no standard treatment has been found to work for every patient, there are several options that have been used to successfully manage the symptoms in a number of individuals. Patients are often advised to recline or lower the head between the knees when symptoms occur. They may also be advised to avoid diuretics and/or increase weight. Nasal sprays, drops, or topical nasal administration of medications containing anticholinergics, estrogen, diluted hydrochloric acid, chlorobutanol, or benzyl alcohol may work in reducing symptoms in some patients. Surgical treatment may be indicated in some cases.[1]

Information detailing treatment options can be accessed through Medscape Reference.

A review article from 2015 also summarizes what is known about the effectiveness of currently available treatments.

Learn more

These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

In-Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Patulous Eustachian Tube. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


  1. Patel AA, Levine SC. Patulous Eustachian Tube. Medscape Reference. April 3, 2015; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/858909-overview#showall.
  2. Luu K, Remillard A, Fandino M, Saxby A, Westerberg BD. Treatment Effectiveness for Symptoms of Patulous Eustachian Tube: A Systematic Review.. Otol Neurotol. 2015 Dec; 36(10):1593-600. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26595716.
  3. Kaneshiro NK. Eustachian tube anatomy. MedlinePlus. August 30, 2014; https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/9308.htm.
  4. Hussein AA, Adams A, Turner JH. Surgical Management of Patulous Eustachian Tube: A Systematic Review. Laryngoscope. September 2015; 125(9):2193-2198. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4725712/.

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