Tympanometry and acoustic reflex threshold (ART) are two ways audiologists test for proper middle ear functioning in children. Tympanometry can detect problems like fluid, wax or a perforated eardrum that may affect hearing.
During a Tympanometry test, an audiologist inserts a pressurized probe into your child's ear. It measures the Tympanic membrane's response to changes in pressure. The audiologist uses a handheld device known as a tympanometer and its output, a Tympanogram, to analyze the data. Tympanometry is often used to detect the presence of otitis media with effusion (OME). OME occurs when fluid remains trapped in the inner ear after an infection has passed.
A normal result means there isn't any fluid in your child's middle ear. Air pressure measurements are normal and the eardrum is smooth. Also, the eardrum and conduction bones (bones that help hearing) move normally.
An abnormal tympanogram may reveal the presence of fluid in the middle ear or a tear in the tissue that separates the middle and outer ear. It can also show such things as a lack of contact between the conduction bones or scarring from frequent infections.
The tympanogram can identify other problems as well, such as a perforated eardrum, excessive wax buildup or even tumors in the middle ear. An abnormal tympanometry is grounds for further testing.
Who needs tympanometry?
A Tympanometry is not a “hearing test.” Instead, it can identify middle ear issues in kids with hearing problems.
What does tympanometry test for?
Tympanometry is usually used in conjunction with pneumatic otoscopy testing. The main goal is to identify signs of otitis media with effusion (OME).
What happens during tympanometry testing?
An audiologist will insert a probe into your child’s ear that will measure air pressure. The results of the tests are sent to a tympanometer and the data will be transcribed on a tympanogram.
Is tympanometry testing conclusive?
No, this can provide the audiologist with important clues about your child’s condition.