3 Differences in Adult and Children Eustachian Tubes

3 Differences in Adult and Children Eustachian Tubes

by Natalie Aylett


The Eustachian tube is a narrow passage leading from the pharynx to the cavity of the middle ear, permitting the equalization of pressure on each side of the eardrum. Everyone has them, but there are some big differences when it comes to adult's and children's. This article is designed to tell you about the differences between adult and children Eustachian tubes and the how it can effect children.

3 Differences Between Adult and Children Eustachian Tubes

  • Tube sizes: The tube size in infants is about 17.5 mm and in adults it is about 37.5 mm. This is a huge difference and can effect how our ears work. This is huge reason why children are more likely to get ear infections because their ears are not big enough to properly balance the pressure.
  • Angles: The angle of these tubes have a 30 degree difference between adults and children. According to Very Well Health, infants and children have about a 10 degrees angle from the horizontal plane. This differs in adult, where the angle is steeper at approximately 45 degrees. This is known to increase the odds for children to have middle ear dysfunction.
  • Muscles: There are 4 muscles that have control to the opening and closing of the Eustachian tubes. In children, these muscles don't yet work as much as they do in adults. This can cause the tubes to not properly work, again causing the increased chance of middle ear dysfunction.

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Small Differences Make a Big Change

The above differences may not seem drastic, but they can have a big effect on the production of the ear. It can be very common for children to experience ear infections and this is a huge reason why. The Eustachian tube will grow to their full size over time so the ears will slowly but surely improve. Some doctors may also recommend that your child has tubes placed in their ears if they are having repeated ear infections or fluid build up.

Eustachian Tube Education

Now that you know a little bit more background on the anatomy of the ear, you can better understand its functions! Eustachian tubes do a lot of work and have a lot of effect on your overall ear health. Remember these 3 differences next time your children are having ear infections and talk to your doctor if you are looking for an alternative to the pain and suffering.

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