Tympanometry is a test that identifies problems associated with the tympanic membrane and middle ear that can lead to hearing loss, especially in children. During the test, the ear is subjected to sound and pressure changes to evaluate its response.
Tympanometry is indicated to diagnose the following abnormalities that affect the conduction of sound:
- Perforation of the ear drum (flap of skin that borders the outer and middle ear)
- Fluid accumulation in the middle ear because of infection
- Ear infection (otitis media)
- Problems with the Eustachian tube (a tube that connects the middle ear to the nose and throat)
Prior to the test your doctor checks your ears and ensures that there is no wax buildup or foreign body present. A device is then inserted into your ear canal. It produces loud sounds and changes the pressure in your ear, causing movement of the ear drum. The sound that reflects off the tympanic membrane is recorded by a microphone and the test results are expressed on a graph called the tympanogram. It is necessary to hold still without speaking or swallowing during the test to avoid inaccurate results. No risks are associated with tympanometry.