This test assists in the detection of fluid in the middle ear, perforation of the eardrum or wax blocking the ear canal or detection of other problems in the middle ear.   Prior to the test, the doctor will look inside the ear to make sure nothing is blocking the eardrum.

Tympanometry is the placement of a device into the ear, the patient needs to not move, speak or swallow during the test.  All of these movements can change the pressure in the middle ear and give incorrect test results.  There are loud sounds during the test that may be startling.  If it is a child who is getting the test performed, it may be a good idea to perform the test on a doll first. The probe may be slightly uncomfortable, it changes the air pressure in the ear, pushing air pressure into the ear canal, making the eardrum move back and forth. The test measures the mobility of the eardrum. Tympanograms are graphs that illustrate the results of the tests and can reveal a stiff eardrum, a hole in the eardrum or an eardrum that moves too much. The tympanogram is often used when children have frequent middle ear infections.

The Tympanometry may reveal an ear wax, fluid or even a tumor in the middle ear.  The test may show a lack of contact between the conduction bones of the middle ear, or a perforated eardrum.  Rarely, the test may disclose scarring of the tympanic membrane.

 

Sources:  www.asha.org; www.medlineplus.gov