What is tympanometry?

Type A impedence curve[/caption]This test measures how your ear reacts to sound and different pressures by applying some air pressure within the outer ear canal. The test result is called a Tympanogram. Before the test, your health care provider will look inside your ear to make sure nothing is blocking the eardrum. Next, a small spongy plug is placed into your ear. This is the probe which changes the air pressure in your ear and makes the eardrum move back and forth. A machine records the results on graphs called tympanograms. You will be told 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 and potentially startling. There may be only slight discomfort while the probe is in the ear (from clogging the ear), but no pain or harm will result. You will hear a loud tone as the measurements are taken.The pressure inside the middle ear can vary by a very small amount between the ears. The eardrum should look smooth and move freely enough to form a sinus type graph as it pushes in and out symmetrically. When there is a problem with the pressures within the middle ear, ear fluid, a hole in the ear drum or a problem with the contact between the conducting bones of the middle ear, the tympanomgram will demonstrate abnormal results.

Example of a normal tympanogram
normal-tympanogram