What is Patulous Eustachian Tube?
Patulous Eustachian tube, also known as patent Eustachian tube, is the name of a rare physical disorder where the Eustachian tube, which is normally closed, instead stays intermittently open. As a result, when it is open, all of the patient's breathing, talking, swallowing, heart beat, etc. vibrates directly on the ear drum. The medical term for this phenomenon is autophony, the hearing of self-generated sounds.
Many patients will be misdiagnosed with this disorder due to the fact that the symptoms closely resemble those of a blocked eustachian tube or Eustachian tube dysfunction. The problem with this is that treatment for congestion or Eustachian tube dysfunction will make Patulous Eustachian Tube worse because the disorders are opposite one another. The use of tympanometry or even the use of nasally delivered masking noise when conducting a hearing assessment is highly sensitive to this condition
What it sounds like
With Patulous Eustachian Tube you hear ALL of your breaths echo on your ear drum, and they aren't muffled. Everything on the outside world sounds the same. Some people are very debilitated by the perceived volume of their voice, causing them to speak very quietly. You may find that lying down or bending over closes the tube and eliminates the problem. Many people lie down to speak on the phone.
What others will notice
Your voice will sound lower to other people because with the Eustachian tube open the trachea has more volume. Most people will ask if you have a cold because your voice sounds "stuffed up."
[Info taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patulous_Eustachian_tube]
This is the description on the wikipedia website. It is an accurate description however it omits the other damaging effects that PET can cause.
The desciption below is taken from http://www.eustachian-tube.net/ENT-DISEASE.html PET Symptoms and consequences
At the beginning, patients hear their own voice “from inside”, amplified and unpleasant. Patients avoid to speak and retire in a rising solitude. They enjoy lying with the head down (it increases venous blood pressure and congestion of the mucosa). With time, appears the respiratory autophonia. At this stage, they hear “from inside” also their respiration. It starts to be unbearable. They may develop a true depression with sometimes suicide feelings. A psychological supervision should be systematic.