If a hearing loss is present, a hearing assessment will establish what type of hearing loss it is. However, a hearing test alone does not give information how well the ears are functioning or how well the ear drums are moving. Tympanometry does allow this to be assessed.
Tympanometry will check that the ear drums are moving freely and that there is no pressure or fluid behind the ear drum which could prevent sound being transmitted through the hearing system successfully.
When performing tympanometry, a small probe which feels like an ear plug is inserted into the entrance of the ear canal, this is completely painless. Once this probe is in place and the machine releases a small puff of air into the ear canal, the machine will measure how much of this air ‘bounces back’ off the ear drum.
This measurement allows the audiologist to establish if there is a fluid or pressure build up behind the ear drum which may be hindering the sound signal getting through. This measurement also measures the volume of the ear canal to ensure that the ear canal is a normal shape and size.