The term Tympanic means something relating to or resembling a drum. In Anatomy, this term is used to recognize the middle ear or ear drum.
The tympanometer is a medical device used to monitor the proper functioning of the middle ear and to diagnose if any problem exists. The health practitioners can opt between handheld tympanometers for mobile tympanometry or tabletop devices for operating tests in their offices. This device is used in the ENT department of hospitals.
Tympanometry is the objective test of the middle ear function. This process is done to check the mobility of ear-drum and the conduction bones by creating a variation of air pressure in the ear canal.
In the process of Tympanometry, the probe of tympanometer is inserted in the ear canal which contains a loudspeaker, a microphone, and an air pump.
A tone of 226 Hertz is delivered into the ear while the air pressure is varied from a negative value to a certain positive value within the sealed canal.
The results of a tympanometry test are recorded on a graph called a tympanogram. Tympanogram describes the flexibility of the tympanic membrane and the ossicles.
A tympanogram represents the relationship between the air pressure in the ear canal and the compliance of the middle ear, which describes the mobility of the tympanic membrane as well as the mobility of the ossicular chain in the air-filled middle ear space. It also helps in the diagnosis of tympanic membrane perforation.
The following flow diagram explains the process of tympanometry:
The tympanogram is correlated with the audiogram data to monitor the complete functioning of the ear. The audiogram is obtained from an Audiometer device which I will cover in another article.