Can Nasal Decongestants Improve Eustachian Tube Function?

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To evaluate the effect of nasal decongestants on eustachian tube (ET) opening.

Study design

A prospective nonrandomized study.


A tertiary referral center.


Twenty-four patients (44 ears) with intact eardrums, 39 patients (43 ears) having a noninfected eardrum defect, and six patients with an upper airway infection.


Nasal or intratympanal (in perforated ears) application of a nasal decongestant (xylometazoline 0.1%).

Main outcome measures

Change of tube opening quality (yes or no; better or worse) measuring tube opening parameters (pressure, latency) using the Estève method and pressure equalization tests (swallowing at negative and positive external ear canal pressures).


In most cases, nasal decongestion or intratympanal use of decongestants have no effect on ET opening. Improvement in tube opening is rather an exception and, in a minority of patients, a reduced ET function was evident.


Our acute studies revealed no improvement in eustachian ventilatory tube function with the administration of nasal decongestants.

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