Tympanometry and otoscopy prior to myringotomy: issues in diagnosis of otitis media

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1992 Sep;24(2):101-10. doi: 10.1016/0165-5876(92)90136-d.


Tympanometry and pneumatic otoscopy were compared to findings at myringotomy in 86 children (163 ears). Seventy percent of the ears (115) had effusion, as revealed by myringotomy. Sensitivity and specificity for tympanometry were 90% and 86%, respectively. Sensitivity and specificity for pneumatic otoscopy were 93% and 58%, respectively. A chi-square was performed to compare the sensitivity and specificity to tympanometry to otoscopy, revealing tympanometry significantly better at determining non-effusion states. Additionally, a combined otoscopy and tympanometry sensitivity and specificity were calculated for those otoscopy and tympanometry determinations in agreement, revealing both sensitivity and specificity above 90%. A Fisher's exact probability test revealed no significant differences for the accuracy of tympanometry over otoscopy when the determinations of each were not in agreement. Implications of these results are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Impedance Tests*
  • Air
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Ear Ventilation
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / diagnosis*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / surgery
  • Otolaryngology / instrumentation*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tympanic Membrane / surgery