Q. Can a sinus x-ray show if your eustachian tube are closed or not?

Answered by
Dr. B Vageesh Padiyar
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 01, 2020

Hello I have a couple of questions first can a sinus X-ray show if your Eustachian tube are closed or not. Or do the ent have to go up your nose to find out. I had a sinus infection and nasal drip my ears are clogged I went to my doctor he said I had fluid and an ear infection and sent me to a ent and he said I didn’t have fluid then why is my ears still clogged after a month and have pressure. I have a septal deviations on my right side 1mm can that be the reason

Dr. B Vageesh Padiyar

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)


Before I explain and answer your questions, I will take a little of your time to explain what has probably happend in your case.

The eustachian tube basically ventilates the nose and the ear. In a situation where it does not function, a negative pressure develops in the side of the ear leading to feeling of vaccum, ringing sounds, feeling of fluid in the ear and sometimes decreased hearing as well.

Most common causes out there would be allergy or underlying sinusitis which can block up the tubes and there by cause its effects.

Now getting to your question.

1. A sinus x Ray cannot show if the eustachian tubes are closed or not. A sinus x Ray just gives information about the status of the sinuses, septum and other bony prominence.

2. Yes we do a nasal endoscopy to see what is the status of the nasal mucosa, Sinus drainage pathway, details of the nasopharyngeal area and definitely see if the tubal opening is anatomically patent or not.

In most circumstances, we can pick up any functional eustachian tube block by 2 methods

  1. A look in the ear will definitely reveal an ongoing negative pressure and your ear drum won't appear normal.
  2. An impedence audiometry will show a " c" curve and is one the objective tests to confirm patulous eustachian tube.

You mentioned about the confusion regarding fluid accumulation in the ear

  1. In most cases only an ent can pick up accumulation of fluid inside the ear drum and the reason behind it is again a eustachian tube block.
  2. If there is a confusion regarding fluid accumulation, a impedence audiometry will show a " b" curve and confirm presence of fluid.

If you feel that your ears are still clogged, then you can consider the treatment mentioned below

  1. Use Decongestant nasal drops containing oxymetazoline or xylometazoline 3 drops 3 times a day in both nostrils for 1 week.
  2. Tab containing Combination of phenylephrine and levocetrizine one tab two times a day after food 12hrs apart for 1 week.
  3. Doing valsalva exercises. ( you can follow a video on YouTube for the same)
  4. Taking steam 4 to 5 times a day.
  5. Avoid anything cold, spicy and oily
  6. Keep a strict diet, eat on time
  7. Salt water gargles @8to10 times a day for 1 week. This does push out any mucus and it's related discomfort in the throat.
  8. Do not smoke, consume alcohol. It cuts down mucociliary activity in the nose.
  9. Continue nasal sprays 2 puffs in each nostrils, 2 times a day for 2 weeks.
  10. Avoid getting exposed to any irritant which can trigger the allergy or sinusitis. You can wear an N 95 mask for this purpose.

This might take around 15 to 20 days for things to completely come down but chiefly depends on how manage to follow the precautionary advice mentioned above.

I hope I have answered your query in detail. Warm regards

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