Incidence of functional nasal voice in patients with patulous eustachian tube

Yoko Suzuki, Ryoukichi Ikeda, Hiroshi Hidaka, Hiromitsu Miyazaki, Yohei Honkura, Takeshi Sato, Tetsuaki Kawase, Yukio Katori, Toshimitsu Kobayashi

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: Some patients with a patulous Eustachian tube (PET) complain of a nasal voice. This feature is often dismissed without further investigation. As such, there are only a few reports on this important symptom and scant studies have been conducted on a sufficiently large number of cases with PET. Therefore, this study was undertaken to investigate the characteristics of patients having a nasal voice and to examine whether this symptom can be an indication of the severity of PET. Study Design: Retrospective. Setting: Tertiary referral center. Subjects and Methods: A retrospective survey of medical records in Sen-En Rifu Hospital identified 85 patients (40 men and 45 women) with PET between 2013 and 2016. Diagnosis of definite PET was based on the Proposal on Diagnostic Criteria of PET announced by the Otological Society of Japan (2017). The questionnaire inquired about the presence of a nasal voice and it was distributed to each patient at the first visit to the clinic. If a patient marked ‘‘yes’’ for the presence of nasal voice, he/she was later asked on the telephone to exclude nasal voice ascribable to causes other than PET, such as nasal diseases. Correlation between nasal voice and patient characteristics (age, sex, affected side, and PET symptoms such as autophony of own voice, aural fullness, and autophony of breathing sounds), subjective severity of PET evaluated by patulous Eustachian tube handicap inventory-10 (PHI-10), and that with the objective severity of PET evaluated by tubo-tympano-aerodynamic-graphy (TTAG) and sonotubometry were investigated. Results: Seventy-six patients (36 men and 40 women) with definite PET were evaluated in this study. Thirteen patients (17.1%) (five men and eight women) reported a nasal voice coinciding with the occurrence of PET symptoms such as voice autophony, aural fullness, and breathing autophony. Age, sex, affected side, PET symptoms (autophony of their own voice, aural fullness, and autophony of their breathing sounds), and objective findings (TTAG and sonotubometry) were not significantly different between the two groups. The average total score of the PHI-10 in the ‘‘PET associated Nasal Voice Group’’ was 35.8 4.5, which was statistically higher than that of the ‘‘non PET associated Nasal Voice Group’’ 23.6 10.7 (p ¼ 0.002). Out of 76 patients, 44 were treated surgically (Kobayashi Plug). In the ‘‘PET associated Nasal Voice Group,’’ 85% (11 out of 13) were subjected to surgical treatment, whereas 52% (33 out of 63) underwent surgical treatment in the ‘‘non PET associated Nasal Voice Group.’’ The rate of surgical treatment was significantly higher in ‘‘PET associated Nasal Voice Group’’ (p ¼ 0.047). Conclusion: Nasal voice due to PET symptoms was observed in 17.1% of PET patients. It was generally found in patients with severe subjective symptoms. Nasal voice can be an indication of subjective severity. However, this study failed to show objective evidence of wider Eustachian tube in such cases. Patients with a nasal voice tended to seek vigorous treatment including surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1034-e1038
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Nasal voice
  • Patulous Eustachian tube
  • Patulous Eustachian tube handicap inventory-10
  • Sonotubometry


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