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    Tympanometry

    Tympanogram

    Tympanometry is a test used to detect problems in the middle ear.

    How the Test is Performed

    Before the test, your health care provider will look inside your ear to make sure nothing is blocking the eardrum.

    Next, a device is placed into your ear. This device changes the air pressure in your ear and makes the eardrum move back and forth. A machine records the results on graphs called tympanograms.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    You should not move, speak, or swallow during the test. Such movements can change the pressure in the middle ear and give incorrect test results.

    The sounds heard during the test may be loud. This may be startling. You will need to try very hard to stay calm and not get startled during the test. If your child is to have this test done, it may be helpful to show how the test is done using a doll. The more you child knows what to expect and why the test is done, the less nervousyour childwill be.

    How the Test Will Feel

    There may be some discomfort while the probe is in the ear, but no harm will result. You will hear a loud tone and feel pressure in your ear as the measurements are taken.

    Why the Test is Performed

    This test measures how your ear reacts to sound and different pressures.

    Normal Results

    The pressure inside the middle ear can vary by a very small amount. The eardrum should look smooth.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Tympanometry may reveal any of the following:

    • A tumor in the middle ear
    • Fluid in the middle ear
    • Impacted ear wax
    • Lack of contact between the conduction bones of the middle ear
    • Perforated ear drum
    • Scarring of the tympanic membrane

    References

    Kerschner JE. Otitis media. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics.19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 632.

    Casselbrant ML, Mandel EM. Acute otitis media and otitismedia with effusion. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund LJ, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology:Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap194.

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    • Ear anatomy

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    • Otoscope examination

      illustration

      • Ear anatomy

        illustration

      • Otoscope examination

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Tests for Tympanometry

        Review Date: 5/10/2013

        Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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        St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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