Middle Ear Testing

Middle ear testing or impedance testing is used to determine the overall health and function of the middle ear. This test evaluates the external ear canal volume, mobility of the eardrum and integrity of the occicular chain (middle ear bones). These tests are essential in identifying perforations of the eardrum, abnormal pressure in the middle ear space, wax blockage in the ear canal, and possible conductive hearing loss.

During this exam, a probe is placed in the ear and air pressure is increased and decreased as a tone is emitted. A graph will be created to show the results of the test. This test helps us determine if hearing loss is conductive in nature.

Impedance testing is an important part of a complete audiometric evaluation. This test is vital in assessing the hearing of young children who often experience middle ear pathologies.


Your middle ear has another important job; it actually protects you from loud sounds! Tiny muscles in the middle ear contract when a loud sound occurs as a way of protecting your hearing. One set of muscles actually pulls the stirrup bones (stapes) away from the cochlea to reduce the transmission of loud sounds to your inner ear. Another set of muscles contract pulling the hammer bone (malleus) away from the eardrum. This reflex reduces the transmission of energy to the cochlea or reduces the volume of sound transmitted through the bones of your middle ears, thus helping prevent inner ear damage.

Your ears begin protecting your hearing at around 80 decibels, or at about the sound level of a loud alarm clock.

Middle Ear

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