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Hearing Test: Middle Ear Testing

In this series of posts, we’re explaining the procedures involved in a hearing test. We talked about the three parts of the ear: outer, middle, and inner. Here, we are highlighting the middle ear.

The middle ear starts with your eardrum, the most well known part of the ear. As sound flows through to the eardrum, it acts like the sail on a sailboat: there is movement because there is pressure. There are bones attached to the eardrum which move in unison with the eardrum as well.

Since we’re dealing with mechanical energy here, we need ways to test those mechanics. One way we do this is through tuning fork tests. During this series of tests, we present sound near your head and also directly through your skull. Testing hearing through different means of vibration, like putting a tuning fork against your head, tells us a lot of information about that part of the ear.

We can test the movements of some of these mechanics by presenting pressure inside the ear using a tympanometer.

Our first two steps to a hearing test are to make sure the ear looks good visibly, and then mechanically the ear is working the way it was intended.