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'Autoinflation' refers to the opening of, and forcing of air through, the Eustachian tube by the raising of intranasal pressure

  • may be achieved by:
    • forced exhalation with closed mouth and nose, or
    • blowing up a balloon through each nostril (otovent device), or
    • use of an anaesthetic mask or a Politzer device

  • aim of these procedures is to introduce air into the middle ear, via the Eustachian tube, and equilibrate the pressures
    • most likely to help in 'Eustachian tube dysfunction' and has been proposed as a treatment for otitis media with effusion

  • a systematic review concerning the use of 'autoinflation' suggested that:
    • "...because of the low cost and absence of adverse effects it is reasonable to consider autoinflation whilst awaiting natural resolution of otitis media with effusion.." (1)
  • a later review suggested that (2):
    • "...Autoinflation with a purpose-manufactured device (Otovent device or ear-popper) may be more effective than no treatment at improving outcomes (measured by tympanogram, audiogram, or composite outcomes). However, results varied by the analysis undertaken and the specific outcome reported ( very low-quality evidence )..."


Last reviewed 01/2018