Diagnostic value of tympanometry in infants in clinical practice

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1999 Aug 20;49(3):207-13. doi: 10.1016/s0165-5876(99)00207-4.


One hundred and twenty-one visits of 58 infants (2-11 months of age) were evaluated in the Finnish Otitis Media Vaccine Trial. Infants were examined with tympanometry (Grason-Stadler GSI 38 Autotymp) and pneumatic otoscopy by one study doctor. Diagnosis of otitis media was verified by myringotomy in 74% of cases. Tympanometry was technically successful in 94% of ears. The success rate was statistically significantly higher (P < 0.05) among infants less than 7 months of age than those above 7 months. The sensitivity of tympanometry (type B) to detect ears with middle ear fluid was 0.70 and the specificity 0.98 with a positive predictive value of 0.93 and negative predictive value of 0.94. The sensitivity was somewhat lower in the younger age group (0.61); specificity and positive and negative predictive values were good in both age groups. The high success rate and high negative and positive predictive values of tympanometry make it a useful aid for assuring the correct diagnosis of otitis media in infants in routine clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Impedance Tests / methods*
  • Acute Disease
  • Age Factors
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Ear Ventilation
  • Models, Biological
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / diagnosis*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / surgery
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies