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What is a tympanogram?

What is a tympanogram and could it determine if I need hearing aids or not?

Tympanometry is routinely used to evaluate the function of the middle ear. The tympanogram provides graphic representation of the relationship of air pressure in the ear canal to the impedance (resistance to movement) of the ear drum and middle ear system. When the ear drum is disturbed by a sound, part of the sound is absorbed and sent through the middle ear while the other part of the sound is reflected. The information derived from tympanometry provides additional information regarding middle ear function, especially Eustachian tube function.

In children, tympanometry is typically performed to document or rule out the presence of fluid in the middle ear, ear drum perforation, or Eustachian tube dysfunction. Even if children have normal hearing the tympanogram can provide further information regarding fluid or middle ear concerns.

The typanogram is an important test for adults and children who are seeking medical clearance for hearing aids.   The most common cause of not passing the typmpanogram test is the presence of fluid behind the eardrum that could be causing a temporary hearing loss.   An adult or child with this issue may not need hearing aids, but would need to consult with a physician to determine the best course of action.

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