When you yawn or swallow, the eustachian tubes open briefly and make the air pressure equal inside and outside the ears (top picture).
The eustachian tubes drain fluid from the ears. But if a tube can't open, fluid can get trapped in the middle ear (bottom picture). This creates pressure that can cause ear pain.
Current as ofOctober 21, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Charles M. Myer III, MD - Pediatrics, Otolaryngology E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Medical Review:Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Charles M. Myer III, MD - Pediatrics, Otolaryngology & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine