Tympanometry: What You Need To Know

Tympanometry is a diagnostic test used to assess the condition of the middle ear and to detect fluid or pressure irregularities in the ear canal. It helps in diagnosis of ear infections, Eustachian tube dysfunction, or any other disease process within the middle ear. The procedure is quick, painless, and noninvasive.


No special preparation is required for this test. The patient should simply remove any earpieces, glasses, or hats before the test is performed.


The patient rests his or her head on a pillow or table while the doctor inserts a soft, cone-shaped probe into the ear canal. This probe will create a wave-like sound while a small amount of air pressure is applied. The sound waves and changes in pressure are measured and recorded by a computer. After the measurements are taken, the probe is gently removed from the ear.

Types of Tympanometry

There are two main types of tympanometry: Traditional tympanometry uses a probe to measure sound waves and air pressure. This procedure is used for diagnosis of ear infections, Eustachian tube dysfunction, or any other diseases or irregularities in the middle ear. Immittance audiometry uses a patient’s sound waves to measure air pressure, ear canal volume, and bone conduction. This procedure is used for diagnosis of hearing impairments.

Risks and Complications

Tympanometry is generally a safe and noninvasive procedure with few risks or complications. Occasionally, the patient may experience a feeling of fullness or pain in the ear. This is usually caused by too much air pressure and can be remedied by adjusting the settings on the probe.

Why is Tympanometry Done?

Tympanometry is used to diagnose infections, Eustachian tube dysfunction, or hearing impairments. It can also indicate if surgery or treatment is needed for conditions in the middle ear. This test is important for both diagnosis and treatment of middle ear diseases and disorders.

When is Tympanometry Used?

Tympanometry is typically used when a patient is experiencing hearing problems, ear pain or pressure, recurrent ear infections, or other middle ear-related symptoms. It is usually performed during routine physical exams or when a patient visits their doctor for ear-related complaints.