Tympanometry is a means for doctors to monitor and diagnose issues in the middle ear, including infections and inflammatory conditions. Most practitioners use tympanometry to diagnose issues that might cause hearing loss. Children are more likely to have tympanometry used as a diagnostic tool than adults. The object of a tympanometry test is to measure how the tympanic membrane moves when there are changes in pressure. This membrane separates the outer and middle ear.
During a tympanometry test, a tympanogram is generated. This is a graph that measures the results. In addition to diagnosing middle ear infections, this diagnostic tool can be used to determine if there's fluid in the middle ear, a tear in the tympanic membrane, or an issue with the eustachian tube. Some practitioners will also do multiple tympanometries over several weeks or months to determine the fluid levels in a child's middle ear over time. The tympanometry test is an ideal diagnostic tool because it has no associated risks.