Diagnostics 101: Audiometry and Tympanometry

TWO most common diagnostic procedures used for testing one’s hearing are Audiometry and Tympanometry. They work in tandem, done one after another during a hearing test, and the results show the Audiologist the status of the current hearing acuity of a person. The test results are always compared to the last ones done, and in my case, suffering since long from hearing loss as a late effect of Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) I inherited from my father, the gradual deterioration of my hearing are evident in all the quarterly checks report being kept in my file. My very first Audiometry test was done when I was 38 years old and shortly thereafter, I started wearing hearing aids.

An Audiometry in progress, taken during one of my past quarterly hearing tests.

Audiometry is a branch of Audiology and tests one’s ability to hear sounds. It’s coined from Latin words audire “to hear” and metria “to measure”. It is through this examination that hearing loss is scientifically proven.

An Audiometry graphic report of my previous test showing severe hearing loss. The figure down is a result of an unaided test while the figure above is the result of an aided (hearing aid) test.

Tympanometry is “an examination used to test the condition of the middle ear and mobility of the eardrum and the conduction bones by creating variations of air pressure in the ear canal. Tympanometry is an objective test of middle-ear function,” as defined by Wikipedia.

    Result of my previous Tympanometry test.

Conduction of sound is the role of the three tiny bones in the ear and because of my OI, also known as “brittle bone disease”, my hearing gradually deteriorated as the bones got porous. This means that the more porous the bones become, the more hearing is lost.

An old type of a Tympanometer machine. A smaller one was used during my very recent hearing test.

Now at age 60, I hear no sound at all without my bilateral hearing aids. And yet the sound which I hear when I wear the gadgets is not clear. I need to “lip read” when talking to a person. My lip reading ability though is still not perfect so I rely on my caregiver’s notations during any visit to doctors. Time will come when even with the use of the most sophisticated hearing aids I will not be able to hear any sound at all!

About Author

Freda Editha O. Contreras
Writing is a God-given talent which I try to utilize the good way. I used it as a means to earn a living, my very first job after graduating from college, when I got hired as an Information Writer by the Provincial Government of Antique through Governor Enrique A. Zaldivar in January 1982. By profession, I am a Registered Nurse, and was only able to practice it when I got recruited to work in a private hospital in Kuwait. This was in November 1987 and since then I have been living in Kuwait, now retired since June 2002. Because of my knack in writing I got hired in 1994 to write for Kuwait Times and later became an Editor of 'Pinoy News' a weekly supplement of KT. In March 1996 I published the very first independent Filipino newspaper in Kuwait and the Gulf bannered as Pinoy Expat News or PEN. The paper lasted for only 10 weekly issues. This was followed by another publication and came out first as an insert of an ad paper and later as a separate tabloid. I used then 'Pinoy News' as it was my idea the first time it was used for Kuwait Times. This again failed and produced only three weekly issues. I then turned to the Internet and in 1999 I got hired as a Contributing Editor of Suite101.com, a writers' portal on the web. The last of my articles was published December 31, 2002 but my topic 'Overseas Filipino Workers' was still visible until January 2006. All the 38 articles I wrote have been compiled into a book which I published in August 2007. I discovered blogging in 2006 but was not really serious about my writing. I wrote according to my whim. Having this blog under my own domain name is now a welcome development and I plan to concentrate again in writing. As is commonly said: "A writer will always be a writer." http://fredacontreras.com/

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