Eustachian Tube (Otopharyngeal Tube) (Auditory Tube)
The eustachian tube runs from the middle ear to the pharynx. Its function is to protect, aerate and drain the middle ear and mastoid sinus. Occlusion of the Eustachian tube leads to otitis media, a particular problem in many children. The Eustachian tube is also called the otopharyngeal tube (because it connects the ear to the pharynx) and the Auditory Tube (and in Latin, the tuba acustica, tuba auditiva, and tuba auditoria). The Eustachian tube measures only 17-18mm and is horizontal at birth. As it grows to double that length, it grows to be at an incline of 45 degrees in adulthood so that the nasopharyngeal orifice (opening) in the adult is significantly below the tympanic orifice (the opening in the middle ear near the ear drum). The tube bears the name of Bartolomeo Eustachi, a 16th-century (c. 1500-1510 to 1574) Italian physician. With Vesalius and Fallopio (of Fallopian tube fame), Eustachi is considered as one of the three great founders of the study of human anatomy.