Middle Ear

Tympanograms

Tympanometry is a quick way to test the function of the ear. A probe sits gently at the outer ear, sealing the ear canal. Air is gently pumped into, and then out of the ear canal while small sounds are made to tense the ear drum. The movement of the ear drum is measured.

It Does Not Test Hearing.

A Tympanogram is a picture of how the ear is functioning, most tympanometers will print out this report. It is a fast, easy ear test that delivers a great deal of information in a very brief time.

The user needs to:

  • understand the limitations of the test and
  • interpret the results properly

Tymp_Diagram_3_1

Interpretation of a Tympanogram

Type A: Peak or mountain shape

indicates normal middle ear function

Type B: Flat line

indicates middle ear effusion or other problems

Type C: Small peak to the left

indicates ETD (Eustachian Tube Dysfunction)

B and C results would benefit from a consultation with an Ear Nurse or GP

The volume of the ear canal is also measured

In the case of a perforation/grommet the volume will be much larger then expected. With wax or a foreign body blocking the ear canal, the volume will be small.

All NZ Preschools and Primary schools are visited regularly by a Vision Hearing Technician. All children at preschool are tested with tympanometry; new entrants to school are tested with tympanometry and an audiogram is performed.

Parents of those children who fail tympanometry on two consecutive visits are sent a letter asking them to consult with an Ear Service or GP. Audiologists and ENT Specialists will often use tympanometry to ascertain ear function.