If you’ve got hearing issues, your doctor might decide to use tympanometry to examine you. This is a tool that helps find any problems in your middle ear. But how does tympanometry work and what can it tell you about your health?
Tympanometry is done with a device that measures the way your eardrum moves in response to noises. Your eardrum is also called the tympanic membrane, and it separates your middle and your outer ear. When sound enters your ear, the vibrations move your eardrum.
How does tympanometry work? First, your doctor places a probe by your eardrum. Then the device releases noises in your ear. The probe measures how well your eardrum will respond to the resulting vibrations. The recorded results are called a tympanogram.
This test is completely safe, and doctors often perform it on children as well. But, although this procedure isn’t really painful, it is fairly uncomfortable. You must not move, speak or swallow while the measurement is taking place. If you can’t follow these instructions, your test will fail.
What the Results Can Tell You
Tympanometry can find a number of aberrations in your middle ear, for example:
- Too much liquid, due to an infection.
- A perforated or scarred eardrum.
- A tumor in your middle ear.
- Physical blockage near your eardrum, such as earwax.
Any of these problems can interfere with your hearing. Some middle ear issues come with a great deal of pain. You definitely should treat them as soon as possible.
Your tympanogram will help your doctor decide what examinations to do next, and which treatment options to take. Studies show that tympanometry is accurate over 90% of the time, which makes it a very important diagnostic tool.