Tympanometer test

The Tympanometer test is used by audiologists to detect disorders of the middle ear. 
It is not a hearing test as such – it doesn’t give information about how well you can hear – but rather measures how easily sound energy is able to pass through the middle ear bones.
Using special equipment, the air pressure in the ear canal is varied in order to test the mobility of the eardrum.
During the test, you will experience a feeling of fullness in your ear – similar to that when taking off in an aeroplane or travelling through a tunnel.
 
  • The audiologist will take you into a quiet room in which the test will take place.
  • After examining your ears – which includes using an otoscope to check the condition of your ear canals and eardrums – the test can begin.
  • The audiologist will ask you to remain still for the duration of the test, and to avoid speaking, moving or swallowing until the test has finished. These actions can affect the pressure in your middle ear and therefore the result of the test.
  • After explaining the test to you, the audiologist will insert a small rubber plug into the entrance of your ear canal. This plug is attached to a device that will change the pressure in your ear, while producing a bleeping sound. The equipment will then automatically measure how the eardrum responds to the bleeping sound at different pressures.
 
A patient undergoing a tympanometry test (Image © RNID)
 
 
Tympanometry Summary
Where is the test done?
Hospital audiology department
Who carries out the test?
Audiologist
How long does the test take?
5 – 10 minutes
Any discomfort/pain?
Slight discomfort possible
Results ready when?
Instantly
Special equipment used?
Rubber earplugs, tympanometry equipment
Risks/Complications?
None

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