by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A man explained:
I had a hearing test conducted last week where an audiologist used a Tympanometry test. When he did this test in one of my ears there was a loud popping noise that occured and I felt pain in my ear. Can this type of test cause any damage the ear drum?
It shouldn’t. Here is what I suspect happened. Your eardrum normally is slightly concave. However, your eardrum may have been slightly convex (bulging out)–typically indicating that your Eustachian tube is clogged. If this was the case, then the slight increase in air pressure during this test may have pushed your eardrum back into its rightful concave position and forced your Eustachian tube to open–hence the loud popping sound you heard. The pain you felt would likely be from the temporarily increased air pressure in your middle ear as this was happening.
If your ear is now hearing at its normal level, I don’t think there was any damage at all.