Eustachian tube

Eustachian tube (yōstāˈshən) [key] [for Bartolomeo Eustachi], a hollow structure of bone and cartilage extending from the middle ear to the rear of the throat, or pharynx, technically known as the pharyngotympanic or auditory tube. By permitting air to leave or enter the middle ear, the tube equalizes air pressure on either side of the eardrum. The tube can become blocked, as by enlarged adenoids or the mucous secretions of a cold, so that external and internal pressure become imbalanced. Earache and diminution of hearing may result. The tube may also serve as a pathway to the ear for infections of the throat. A common ear disease known as otitis media, usually appearing in early childhood, is thought to be related to the Eustachian tube. The tube tends to be shorter and more horizontal among children, factors which facilitate the spread of infections from upper respiratory diseases to the middle ear, as well as the accumulation of fluids in the region.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Eustachian tube from Fact Monster:

  • recapitulation - recapitulation recapitulation, theory, stated as the biogenetic law by E. H. Haeckel, that the ...
  • Bartolomeo Eustachi - Eustachi, Bartolomeo Eustachi, Bartolomeo , d. 1574, Italian anatomist. He lived in Rome from 1549 ...
  • ear: Disorders of the Ear - Disorders of the Ear One of the most common ear diseases is known as otitis media, a middle ear ...
  • pharynx - pharynx pharynx , area of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts which lies between the mouth ...
  • ear - ear ear, organ of hearing and equilibrium. The human ear consists of outer, middle, and inner ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Anatomy and Physiology