Tympanometry and laser Doppler interferometry measurements on otitis media with effusion model in human temporal bones

Chenkai Dai, Mark W. Wood, Rong Z. Gan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HYPOTHESIS: The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of middle ear fluid and pressure on tympanic membrane mobility by using laser Doppler interferometry and to compare these results with tympanometry. BACKGROUND: Tympanometry has been commonly used for evaluation of otitis media with effusion, a middle ear disease with fluid in the cavity. However, this test lacks specific interpretations of middle ear disorders based on tympanometric data. Laser interferometry, as an advanced research tool to measure middle ear function, may provide knowledge of how tympanic membrane mobility is affected by middle ear fluid and pressure. METHODS: An otitis media with effusion model was created in seven human temporal bones for conducting experiments with tympanometry and laser interferometry. Middle ear pressure varied from -20 to +20 cm water, and the amount of fluid in the middle ear was gradually increased to fill the cavity. RESULTS: The displacement of the tympanic membrane measured by laser interferometry at selected frequencies decreased significantly corresponding to the middle ear air pressure changes. Tympanometry detected middle ear pressure by the change of tympanometric peak location, but the tympanogram shape was not affected by the middle ear pressure. The middle ear fluid was detected by tympanometry with as little as 0.3 mL, and laser interferometry was able to measure the displacement change of the tympanic membrane with 0.2 or 0.3 mL fluid at different frequencies. CONCLUSION: Laser interferometry can detect the effect of middle ear pressure and fluid on tympanic membrane movement as well as tympanometry does.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-558
Number of pages8
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Laser interferometry
  • Middle ear mechanics
  • Otitis media with effusion
  • Temporal bone
  • Tympanometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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