The effect of auditory stimulation on the tensor tympani in patients following stapedectomy.


Conclusion. We believe that a tensor tympani reflex, in response to loud sound, is present in a minority of people, although its functional significance with regard to sound transmission is questionable. The absence of startle response in our stapedectomized subjects makes us question whether the tensor component of the startle response is large enough to be identified by manometry. Objectives. This study was organized to examine reflex activity to stimulation by loud sound or by startle in the tensor tympani. Although many previous studies have been carried out, results have been contradictory, and methodological flaws have rendered the interpretations questionable. Patients and methods. Stapedectomized patients were invited to take part in the study. Thirteen patients underwent testing by extratympanic manometry, using a standard tympanometer. Responses were observed during repeated stimuli with loud sound at 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz to the ipsilateral and contralateral ears, and with an air jet against the closed eye. A control group was also studied for the startle test. Results. Three clear ipsilateral (23%) and two clear contralateral (14%) responses to auditory stimuli were seen in the 13 patients. We found responses to startle stimuli in none of our study group and eight (42%) of control ears. © 2008 Taylor & Francis.