What is Audiometry

An audiometry exam tests your hearing ability. It examines both the tone and intensity of sounds. Moreover, it also checks balance problems related to the functionality of your inner ear.

Why is an audiometry test done?

An audiometry test is done in response to noticeable hearing loss conditions. The causes of hearing loss could be many, such as:

1. Chronic ear infection
2. Birth defects
3. Ear injury
4. Inherited conditions like otosclerosis, which happens due to abnormal bone growth that prevents structures within your ear from functioning properly
5. Exposure to loud noise greater than 85dB
6. Ruptured eardrum
7. Inner ear disease like Meniere’s disease or an autoimmune disease that affects your inner ear.

Which are the tests performed during audiometry?

There are several tests that are done in audiometry. A pure tone test will measure the quietest sound that you can hear at different pitches. It involves the use of an audiometer, a machine that plays sounds through headphones. Your audiologist will play different speech sounds and tones at different intervals to test your hearing range. The audiologist will tell you to raise your hands when the sounds are audible.

Another hearing test helps your audiologist to determine your ability to differentiate speech from background noise. A sound will be played, and you will be asked to repeat the words you hear. It is an important test in diagnosing hearing loss.

A tuning fork can determine how well you can hear vibrations through the ears. Your audiologist will put the metal device against the bone behind the ear. The bone oscillator tests how the vibrations pass through the bone to the inner ear. It is a mechanical device that transmits vibrations like a tuning fork.

What is Tympanometry?

Tympanometry is a test that checks how well the middle ear is functioning. It does this by measuring the movement of your eardrum. The test helps in diagnosing problems that occur in your middle ear, where the sound passes from the ear canal to the inner ear.

Why is a tympanometry test done?

A tympanometry test can diagnose ear problems that result in hearing loss in children. Through this test, your doctor can see if you suffer from any of the following conditions:

1. Middle ear infections like otitis media
2. Fluid in your middle ear
3. Problems with the Eustachian tube that connects the nose and upper throat to your middle ear
4. Perforated tympanic membrane

Which are the tests performed during tympanometry?

During tympanometry, the patient will be asked to sit still, as movements during talking, moving, coughing, or laughing can interfere with the test results. At first, the audiologist will perform an otoscopy. In this test, the doctor views the inside of the ear with a lighted scope known as an otoscope. This instrument makes it easy for your doctor to check the eardrum, ear canal, and parts of the middle ear.

Subsequently, they will insert the probe of the tympanometer. It will have a soft end similar to an ear plug. The probe’s end will form an airtight seal inside the ear canal. It will transfer air into the ear while emitting low tones. During this time, you might feel the pressure build up in the ear.

The probe has an attached microphone that will record the movement of your eardrum in response to the air pressure and sound. The tympanometer will then create a tympanogram, a graph that displays the vibrations reaching your eardrum.

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