One of the many causes of hearing loss is middle ear disease. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, this disease is often associated with hearing loss in preschool-age children. As a result, several tests have been developed to detect the presence of middle ear disease in both children and adults. One of these tests, known as tympanometry, uses air pressure to detect fluid, eardrum perforation, or excessive wax in the ear canal.
During the test, an audiologist applies air pressure to the ear drum, causing it to move. Graphs called tympanograms are then created to measure the mobility of the ear drum. These graphs can reveal if an eardrum is too stiff, too mobile, or is perforated. This type of test is often used when a child has an infection in the middle ear.
A second type of middle ear test helps audiologists find the location of the hearing problem. Everyone has a muscle in the middle ear that automatically contracts when a loud sound is heard. The “acoustic reflex measures” test determines the volume at which this reflex occurs. By measuring the level of loudness required to trigger the reflex, audiologists can learn more about the person’s source of hearing loss.
Finally, audiologists may use a “static acoustic impedance” test to measure the physical volume of air in a child’s ear canal. According to ASLHA, this test helps identify perforations in the ear drum. It also measures the openness of the ear ventilation tube.
The results of all of these tests will help parents learn more about their child’s hearing abilities. The audiologist may provide referrals for medical and educational follow-ups, hearing aid assessments, speech assessments, and other helpful resources. For more information, or to find out if your child should be tested, schedule an appointment with an audiologist on your True Care Advantage plan.