Tympanometry and Acoustic Reflex Testing


During a Tympanometry test, an audiologist inserts a pressurized probe into the ear. It measures the Tympanic membrane's response to changes in pressure. The audiologist uses a handheld device known as a tympanometer and its output, a Tympanogram, to analyze the data. A normal result means there isn't any fluid in the middle ear. Air pressure measurements are normal and the eardrum is smooth. Also, the eardrum and conduction bones (bones that help hearing) move normally.An abnormal tympanogram may reveal the presence of fluid in the middle ear or a tear in the tissue that separates the middle and outer ear. It can also show such things as a lack of contact between the conduction bones or scarring from frequent infections. The tympanogram can identify other problems as well, such as a perforated eardrum, excessive wax buildup or even tumors in the middle ear. An abnormal tympanometry is grounds for further testing.

Acoustic reflex threshold (ART) helps audiologists test for proper middle ear functioning by testing the ear's natural reflex to lower the volume of very loud sounds. A normal result means your child falls within the usual range. An abnormal ART may show some kind of a neurological disorder or nerve damage. As with tympanometry, an abnormal ART means more tests are needed.