General immune system research and study of autoimmune disorders is underway in many locations. Scientists are also conducting research related to autoimmune disorders and the inner ear. Most inner ear research has centered on finding an identifiable inner ear "marker" or chemical that can be tested for so that diagnosis can be faster and more accurate. Other research examines treatments. For example, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health is studying the treatment of autoimmune inner ear disease.
If middle ear infections happen often enough, placement of tubes are often helpful. Why would placing a tube help in these situations? Really, tube placement is a "detour" whereby the natural eustachian tube is bypassed so that ventilation occurs through the ear canal instead of the nose. Furthermore, a tube allows for ear popping automatically. Another way of thinking about a tube is a hole in a balloon. When there is a hole in a balloon, no pressure can build up as it would automatically escape out the hole. Read about the different types of tubes here .
The esophagus is involved in the processes of swallowing and peristalsis to move substances from the mouth to the stomach. The swallowing food begins in the mouth and continues with the contraction of skeletal muscles in the pharynx and esophagus. The upper esophageal sphincter dilates to permit the swallowed substance to enter the esophagus. From this point, waves of muscle contraction called peristalsis move food toward the stomach. In peristalsis, regions of the esophagus closer to the stomach open to permit food to pass through while the region just above the food contracts to push the food onward. Peristalsis works so well that food can be swallowed even while the body is lying down, upside down, or even in zero-gravity.