Tympanometry (including Acoustic Reflex Testing & Eustachian Tube Function)
Tympanometry is a test where air pressure in the ear canal is varied - testing the condition and mobility (movement) of the ear drum. This is useful in detecting disorders of the middle ear.
Tympanometry is a quick and easy test. Initially, audiologist will examine the ear with an otoscope to evaluate the ear canal, ensuring that there is a clear path to the ear drum.
Then a probe tip is inserted in the outer third of the ear canal that will change the pressure in the ear, produce a pure tone, and measure the middle ear's responses to the sound and different pressure. During the test, it is important not speak, move, swallow, or startle. All these actions can alter the pressure the pressure in the middle ear and invalidate the test results.
Abnormal results may reveal any of the following:
Fluid in the middle ear
Perforated ear drum
Impacted ear wax
Scarring of the ear drum
Lack of contact between the conduction bones of the middle ear
A tumor in the middle ear
Based on the test results, audiologist will decide if further test is necessary.
Acoustic Reflex testing provides information about the integrity of the entire auditory system up to the level of brainstem and also of the motor branch of the facial nerve. An intense sound is presented to the ear, causing the stapedius muscle to contracts. The contraction of the stapedius muscle pulls on the stapes and stiffens the auditory system. The probe tip in the ear canal will measure the changes in the auditory system.