Management of patulous eustachian tube with habitual sniffing

Ryoukichi Ikeda, Takeshi Ohshima, Hidetoshi Oshima, Makiko Miyazaki, Toshiaki Kikuchi, Tetsuaki Kawase, Toshimitsu Kobayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Evaluation of the effect of conservative and surgical treatment in patients with patulous Eustachian tube (PET) associated with habitual sniffing. Study Design: Retrospective case review. Setting: University hospital otolaryngology department. Patients: Ninety-seven (23.4%) of 414 PET patients were found to have habitual sniffing to alleviate uncomfortable aural symptoms. Of these, 38 PET patients with sniffing habit were selected. Interventions: Conservative Intervention included instructions to stop sniffing and nasal instillation of saline. Surgical Interventions used ventilation tube (VT) insertion to the eardrum and/or transmyringeal insertion of the PET plug (PEP). Main Outcome Measures: Relief of uncomfortable symptoms and stopping sniffing. Results: In 52 (53.6%) of the 97 sniff-positive cases, retraction-type eardrum abnormalities or operated ear due to cholesteatoma were identified, whereas normal bilateral eardrums were observed in 34 (87.2%) of 39 sniff (-) cases. Abnormal findings in the eardrum were significantly more common in the sniff-positive group than in the sniff-negative group (p < 0.0001). Twenty-three patients (65.7%) stopped sniffing with conservative treatment. VT insertion was performed in 8 ears. Subsequent PEP was necessary in 2 of the 8 ears because of PET symptoms. PEP was successful in the other 11 ears, including one ear which needed additional VT insertion because of middle ear effusion. Conclusion: The management of habitual sniffing is difficult, but blocking the Eustachian tube by nasal instillation of saline and/or PEP could help PET patients to stop sniffing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-793
Number of pages4
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jul


  • Autophony
  • Cholesteatoma
  • Patulous Eustachian tube plug
  • Tympanic membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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