At Hearing Evaluation Services (HES), our audiologists use tympanometry to get a complete picture of your hearing status. Tympanometry is a test used to evaluate the middle ear and the mobility of the eardrum. The middle ear is a closed space, filled with air, wherein the pressure of airborne sounds are naturally amplified before they travel to the inner ear, and then to the brain. The middle ear is most efficient at passing sounds through it when there is equal air pressure on both sides of the eardrum.
Tympanometry is a brief and painless test that uses a probe, which can record and emit tones, and change air pressure. For this test, the audiologist inserts the probe into the patient’s ear, and light air pressure is applied to the eardrum.
The test measures how well the eardrum moves back and forth from its resting position, which helps determine if the eardrum is too stiff or too mobile. For example, if there is fluid behind the eardrum, it will not move when pressure is applied. Tympanometry also measures the amount of space in the ear canal. If there is an open pressure equalization (PE) tube or perforation (hole) in the eardrum, then the space will be larger than normal.
The results of the tympanogram – the graph obtained from this test – reveals the amount of air pressure on both sides of the eardrum, and can indicate the nature of hearing loss, particularly whether it’s a sensorineural (inner ear problem) or a conductive hearing loss (outer or middle ear problem). Your tympanogram will be examined in conjunction with the results of your hearing evaluation and any additional tests to give us a clear understanding of your hearing health.
Your primary audiologist will guide you through the testing process and address any concerns you may have. Once the type and degree of your hearing loss is determined, your audiologist will discuss your treatment options. HES will work closely with you to help you find a hearing solution the fits your individual needs.