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Immittance Measurements

A common cause of hearing loss in both children and adults is middle ear dysfunction. Problems such as middle ear infections, perforated eardrums, or problems with the small bones in the middle ear can result in hearing loss. Immittance Measurements are used to diagnose problems in the middle ear. To obtain a tympanogram, a small earphone is placed in the ear canal and eardrum movement is measured in response to air pressure changes. The acoustic reflex test checks the function of a small muscle in the middle ear

Tympanometry is an examination used to test the condition of the middle ear and mobility of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) and the conduction bones by creating variations of air pressure in the ear canal. Tympanometry is an objective test of middle-ear function. It is not a hearing test, but rather a measure of energy transmission through the middle ear. The test should not be used to assess the sensitivity of hearing and the results of this test should always be viewed in conjunction with other hearing tests including the pure tone audiometry if available.

Acoustic Reflex Testing consists of subjecting the ear to a loud sound (pure tone or noise) and determining if it causes middle ear muscle (Stapedius muscle) contraction. The muscle contraction is elicited in the presence of loud sounds and serves as a protective mechanism for the ear. Acoustic reflex testing is mainly useful as a crude but non-subjective method of evaluating hearing; it provides additional information about the presence of a hearing impairment and assists in determining the type of impairment.

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