Tympanometry: Your Key to Diagnosing Middle Ear Hearing Problems

Tympanometry: Your Key to Diagnosing Middle Ear Hearing Problems

by | May 9, 2023 | Hearing Test, Patient Resources

Experiencing ear pain or sudden hearing loss and unsure why? The tympanometry hearing test allows our experienced audiologists to measure the function of the middle ear and diagnose middle-ear hearing problems.

In this article, we aim to give you peace of mind regarding the test by explaining the ins and outs of tympanometry, what it measures, and when it should be used.

If you have any questions or concerns, our audiologists are here to help.

What Is Tympanometry and Why Is It Done?

Tympanometry helps uncover hidden middle ear issues, ensuring accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

It is a non-invasive, painless test that measures the movement of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) and the middle ear’s air pressure.

What Can Tympanometry Diagnose?

Tympanometry is effective in diagnosing various middle ear disorders, including:

  • Otitis media (ear infections)
  • Eardrum perforations
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction
  • Blockages in the Eustachian tube

When Should a Tympanometry Test Be Used?

Tympanometry should be used as part of a comprehensive hearing assessment. Audiologists typically recommend tympanometry for individuals who:

  • Experience symptoms such as ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or tinnitus
  • Have a history of middle ear infections or eardrum perforations
  • Require monitoring of their middle ear health during treatments like ventilation tube insertion
  • or medication for ear infections

What Does Tympanometry Measure?

Tympanometry measures the eardrum’s response to changes in air pressure within the ear canal. This test records the movement of the eardrum and middle ear air pressure as a tympanogram, a graph that reveals the condition of the middle ear.

What Does Negative Ear Pressure Mean?

Negative ear pressure refers to a condition in which the air pressure inside the middle ear is lower than the atmospheric pressure outside the ear. This can lead to difficulty equalizing pressure in the ear and may cause symptoms such as ear pain, muffled hearing, or tinnitus.

Understanding Tympanograms

Tympanograms are classified into three primary types based on their shapes:

Type A (Tympanometry Test Normal Range)

This is the normal tympanogram, indicating a healthy middle ear system with normal air pressure and eardrum mobility.

Type B

This type suggests a potential problem, such as fluid in the middle ear, a perforated eardrum, or a blockage in the Eustachian tube.

Type C

This tympanogram indicates negative middle ear pressure, commonly associated with Eustachian tube dysfunction.

Can Tympanometry Detect Tinnitus?

Tympanometry can help identify underlying middle ear issues that may contribute to tinnitus. If a middle ear disorder is detected and treated, it may alleviate or reduce the severity of tinnitus symptoms.

Should You Have a Tympanometry Test?

Medical jargon can often be intimidating and confusing, especially when it comes to understanding the tests and procedures used to diagnose and treat hearing disorders. However, we want to assure you that explaining the process of tympanometry can help put your mind at ease.

Tympanometry is a crucial tool in diagnosing and monitoring middle ear disorders, which can affect your hearing and overall health. It involves inserting a small probe into your ear and measuring the movement of your eardrum in response to changes in air pressure.

While the thought of having a probe inserted into your ear may sound daunting, it is a non-invasive and painless procedure that typically takes just a few minutes to complete.

Comprehensive Hearing Assessments with our Expert Audiologists

By measuring the response of your eardrum to different air pressures, our audiologists can identify any abnormalities or obstructions in your middle ear, such as fluid buildup or a perforated eardrum. This information is essential in determining the most suitable treatment for your hearing needs, whether it be medication, surgery, or the use of hearing aids.

Get to the Bottom of Your Hearing Problems

If you have any questions or concerns about the tympanometry procedure or your hearing health in general, please ask our team of audiologists. We are here to provide the guidance and support you need to achieve optimal hearing and overall well-being.

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Dr. Scott Marquardt - Doctor of Audiology & CEO of Clarity Hearing

Scott Marquardt is the owner of Clarity Hearing and a highly skilled audiologist who has been in practice for over 20 years. Dr. Marquardt earned a master’s degree in audiology from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and a doctorate from A.T. Still University. He is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. He and the team offer comprehensive hearing healthcare services and specialize in the care of tinnitus, imbalance, and auditory processing disorders.

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