Shea Ear Clinic Memphis, TN


Autophony refers to the sensation of hearing your own voice or breathing in your ear.  It is a very challenging condition caused by a eustachian tube that is abnormally open.  Most of the time the eustachian tube is closed except during swallowing when air passes up the tube into the middle ear.  Ironically, the ear may feel “blocked” or “full”.  The person’s own voice may be so bothersome to the that they avoid speaking unless absolutely necessary and speak only at a low volume.  The condition can force patients into seclusion as even outside sounds and singing can be a nuisance.  A clue in diagnosis is that the condition is relieved when patients lie flat on their back or bend completely over at the waist.  Some patients with severe autophony will hold the tip of the finger against the side of the neck on the affected side, which closes the end of the tube and gives relief.  Other patients will "sniff" continuously to close the end of the tube in the nose to get relief.   It is more common in women than men, and usually associated with weight loss.  The cause of autophony is not known.  The best treatment for patulous eustachian tube is a procedure known as Eustachian Tuboplasty, which involves reducing the size of the eustachian tube by inserting one or more short silicone catheters into the eustachian tube through the ear.  This usually provides good relief from the symptoms of autophony.

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