WellSpan Home

Tympanometry in Ear Infections (Otitis Media)

Exam Overview

Tympanometry tests the movement of the eardrum when an ear infection or other middle ear problem is suspected. A doctor places the tip of a handheld tool into the child's ear. The tool changes the air pressure inside the ear and produces a clear tone. Then the tool measures how the eardrum responds to the pressure and the sound. The results of this test are used to help figure out what is going on in the ear.

Why It Is Done

The results of tympanometry can tell doctors whether there is fluid behind the eardrum or whether an ear tube is blocked. The test can also discover whether there is a hole in the eardrum. This information helps doctors decide what kind of treatment your child may need.

Results

Normally the eardrum moves easily when pressure in the ear canal is changed. Most of the time, if the test is normal, there is no fluid behind the eardrum.

When the eustachian tube, which connects the back of the nose and throat with the middle ear, is not working well, the eardrum does not move as it should. But in some cases the test shows fluid behind the eardrum when there really is none.

What To Think About

If the child is crying or unable to hold still, tympanometry may be difficult or impossible to do. Crying and movement can cause incorrect results. Earwax can also cause false results. If there is a lot of earwax, it may be cleared out before the test begins. This test may not be useful for babies younger than 7 months because the results can be misleading.

Before the test, let your child know what is going to happen. This will help keep your child calm and still during the test. At home before the test, you can play "pretend ear exam" so your child can practice sitting still. Also, explain that loud noises are part of the test.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics

Current as ofMarch 28, 2018


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×