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Active opening function of the human eustachian tube: comparison between sonotubometry and pressure equilibration test.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Kansai Medical University, Osaka, Japan.


Sonotubometry and pressure equilibration test are representative test methods to evaluate the active opening capacity of the Eustachian tube. We applied these tests to 72 ears with otitis media with effusion and 21 ears with chronic otitis media. In 73 ears, both tests showed identical results (11 ears with good active function and 62 ears with poor function). Twenty ears showed good active opening by sonotubometry despite inability to relieve applied negative pressure by swallowing. This inconsistency is believed to result from a too short duration of the tubal opening, by which sound is transmitted through the Eustachian tube, without pressure change in the middle ear cavity. We propose that sonotubometry is a suitable method of detecting impairment of the tubal active opening function, but that a good result by sonotubometry does not always indicate a satisfactory pressure equilibration capacity of the Eustachian tube.

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