The Diagnostic Value of Multifrequency Tympanometry in Patients with Ménière's Disease: A Prospective Analysis

Audiol Neurootol. 2023;28(4):272-279. doi: 10.1159/000528852. Epub 2023 Feb 15.


Introduction: Diagnosing Ménière's disease (MD) by its characteristics such as episodes of vertigo, fluctuating hearing loss, and tinnitus with aural fullness remains challenging. Available tests evaluating the presence of endolymphatic hydrops (EH) are often expensive or time assuming. An in-office quick and simple non-invasive diagnostic test is multifrequency tympanometry (MFT). It can measure conductance at 2 kHz probe tones, which was demonstrated to reflect variations in cochlear pressure. Previous studies investigating MFT as a diagnostic test for MD showed conflicting outcomes possibly biased by their retrospective design.

Methods: We prospectively collected MFT results (Y width) in patients with dizziness and compared MFT test results in affected (group 1) and unaffected (group 2) ears of 37 MD subjects and in control ears of 33 non-MD subjects (group 3).

Results: The mean value of the Y width in affected ears was 315.6 ± 70.2 daPa compared to 292.3 ± 98.6 daPa in unaffected ears in MD subjects and 259.4. ± 60.6 daPa in the non-MD group. A positive test result (i.e., a Y width of 235 daPa or more) was found in 35 ears in the MD group, 21 times involving the affected ear and 14 times involving the unaffected ear, compared to 16 in the non-MD group. No significant differences between the three groups could be demonstrated (p > 0.05). We found a sensitivity of 58.3% and specificity of 66.3% for detecting EH in an affected ear in MD subjects.

Conclusion: There is a trend towards increased conductance tympanometry in affected ears. However, we noticed a high false positive rate of MFT and do not support standardized use of MFT as an additional diagnostic tool for detecting EH in MD patients. A negative test result on the contrary is unlikely related to EH.

Keywords: Dizziness; Multifrequency tympanometry; Ménière’s disease; Vestibular testing.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Impedance Tests / methods
  • Endolymphatic Hydrops* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Meniere Disease* / diagnosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vertigo