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Treatment for negative pressure in the middle ear

Before going into the treatment options for negative pressure in middle ear, we need to understand the anatomy and functions of the middle ear and what does negative air pressure mean.

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An overview of the middle ear

The middle ear contains the eardrum which separates it from the inner ear. It is an air filled space that receives sound waves from the external ear and converts them to vibrations which pass on to the inner ear. The air filled hollow space of the middle ear is also known as tympanic cavity.

Eustachian tube is another important structure that connects the middle ear to the back of the nose and its primary function is to balance the air pressure on both sides of the eardrum.

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What does negative pressure in middle ear mean?

You can hear properly only when the pressure in both sides of your eardrum is equal. Slight change in air pressure inside ears creates negative air pressure which is most often experienced while flying at high altitudes. Your ears get blocked along with reduced hearing and some degree of pain. Under such circumstances you need to open up your ears to re-establish equal pressure on both sides of your ear drum.

Now we tell you some treatment options for negative ear pressure.

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Treatment for negative ear pressure

Tricks to open your ears

Negative ear pressure means there’s a blockage in your ears. Therefore, you have to try some tricks to open it.

Swallow and chew

When you swallow you can hear that pop sound inside your ears which indicates that they have opened and the air pressure is normal. If swallowing doesn’t help then chew, may be a chewing gum would do the wonders.

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Valsalva maneuver

The technique also helps and you can try at home. It involves application of moderate force to exhale while keeping all airways closed. You have to close your mouth, pinch your nose shut and then press out or exhale just like the way you blow a balloon. Immediately your will hear a “pop” sound which indicates that your Eustachian tube has opened.

Medicinal approach

The air pressure inside your middle ears gets automatically stabilized when the Eustachian tube functions properly. Thus, your doctor might give you an OTC ear drop which would do the necessary healing. Secondly, if negative air pressure has resulted from cold, congestion in nose, allergy or sinusitis then your doctor would prescribe you oral or nasal decongestants, antihistamines and steroids as well which would open up the airways and stabilize the air pressure in your middle ear.


When all the aforementioned measures fail and you have sever Eustachian tube dysfunction then your doctor might consider performing surgery in your ears which would restore the air pressure inside your middle ear.


A tiny incision is made into the eardrum by the surgeon to relieve the accumulated pressure inside the middle ear. The hole or the incision heals spontaneously over the time.

Placement of pressure equalization

Children or adults who have severe problem with Eustachian tube might require a placement of tube while undergoing myringotomy. Such ear tubes come in various shapes and sizes and are placed inside the ear through the incision. This helps ears to drain well and eliminate negative pressure.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: December 29, 2014

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