Tympanometry is a non-invasive diagnostic test used to assess the health and function of the middle ear. It primarily measures the compliance of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) and the impedance of the middle ear system.
The test involves changing air pressure in the ear canal while measuring the eardrum's response. Different pure tone signals, most typically 226Hz or 1kHz are used to measure the acoustic admittance at the eardrum.
The results are typically displayed on a graph called a tympanogram, which audiologists and healthcare providers can interpret to assess the middle ear's condition and determine appropriate treatment or further evaluation.
This test is particularly useful in evaluating various ear-related conditions and can provide important information to audiologists and healthcare professionals. Here's what tympanometry can help assess:
Middle Ear Function
Tympanometry can determine how well the middle ear, which includes the middle ear bones (ossicles) and the Eustachian tube, are functioning. Abnormalities in middle ear function can indicate issues such as fluid accumulation, ear infections, or problems with the Eustachian tube.
Tympanometry can assess the integrity of the eardrum. A perforated eardrum or other structural abnormalities can be detected through this test.
Ossicular Chain Function
It can provide information about the mobility of the ossicular chain (the three small bones in the middle ear). Problems with the ossicles can lead to conductive hearing loss.
Identification of Fluid in the Middle Ear
Tympanometry is often used to detect the presence of fluid or effusion in the middle ear, which can be associated with conditions like otitis media (middle ear infection) or serous otitis media (fluid without infection).
Eustachian Tube Function
This test can also give insights into how well the Eustachian tube is functioning. A malfunctioning Eustachian tube can lead to negative pressure in the middle ear or problems with equalizing pressure, which can be associated with conditions like ear barotrauma or Eustachian tube dysfunction.
How to perform tympanometry
Tympanometry tests are performed using a dedicated probe which is inserted into the ear canal. There are different probe designs, such as handheld or pen probes, that experts recommend for screening. Whereas insert probes enable a hands-free operation, which reduces the chance of artefactual measurements.
Selecting the right ear tip for tympanometry is critical to be able to perform a successful tympanometry test. Umbrella ear tips are only recommended with handheld devices or probes, whereas mushroom sized tips can be used with any kind of probe and will ensure a sufficient hold of the insert probe within the ear canal.
It's crucial to perform otoscopy before placing a probe in the ear, as this ensures no debris is present to impact the measurement result or enter the probe tip. The probe should be inserted into the ear canal in order to close the canal airtight. Amplivox tympanometers guide the user to ensure the probe is placed correctly and will automatically start the measurement as soon as the probe is in position.
Amplivox has worked hard to develop industry-leading handheld and desktop tympanometers that provide fast and accurate middle ear measurements for all age groups, including neonates.
Elegantly designed and compact in size, our tympanometers are ideal for mobile use as well as clinical environments where space is at a premium.
Our tympanometers also include a wide range of test functionality to ensure testing requirements can not only be met, but also exceeded.
To learn more about our tympanometry devices, you can visit our tympanometers webpage. You can also contact our customer support team on +44 (0)1865 880 846 or email.
Terkildsen K, Thomsen K A. The influence of pressure variations on the impedance of the human ear drum. A method for objective determination of the middle-ear pressure. J Laryngol Otol. 1959;73:409–418. National Library of Medicine. Accessible at: