Tympanometry is a test of the middle ear function and the eardrum. It provides information on the condition of the middle ear and assesses the mobility of the eardrum by varying the air pressure in the ear canal.
The test helps to:
- Assess the eardrum movement (compliance)
- Monitor chronic middle ear fluid
- Confirm tympanic membrane perforation
- Monitor Eustachian tube function
It is important to note that tympanometry is not a hearing test. It does not assess the sensitivity of hearing and the results of this test should be viewed together with puretone audiometry. Tympanometry testing helps to distinguish between sensorinneural and conductive hearing loss, especially middle ear conditions such as otitis media with effusion, otosclerosis, cholesteatoma, tympanic membrane scarring, tympanosclerosis, etc.
How is it Performed?
The test is performed by inserting the tympanometer probe into the ear canal, which generates a puretone signal and measures the sound reflected from the eardrum at different pressures. The wave form produced is called a tympanogram and can be broadly classified into 3 types:
Tympanometry is an objective test that can be easily performed on patients of all ages.