Eustachian tube malfunction and middle ear disease in new perspective.J Otolaryngol. 1983 Jun; 12(3):187-93.JO
Our traditional concepts relating to the development of middle ear disease are based on the assumption that obstruction of the Eustachian tube with reduced ventilation of the middle ear space leads to the development of high negative pressure in the middle ear and, ultimately, to the development of middle ear disease. This hypothesis, which focuses on Eustachian tube opening failure, has not been verified satisfactorily. Results of recent studies indicate that another approach to the problem can lead to a better understanding of the Eustachian tube pathophysiology leading to the development of ear disease. Direct measurements of middle ear pressure in patients with manifest ear disease have revealed that high negative intratympanic pressure is generated by the voluntary act of sniffing. This type of Eustachian tube malfunction is thus characterized by Eustachian tube closing failure. The repetitive barotrauma induced by sniffing or reverse Valsalva maneuvers seems to be a basic predisposing factor in the development of recurrent middle ear effusion and chronic middle ear disease, including adhesive otitis and cholesteatoma.