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Sonotubometry: Eustachian Tube Ventilatory Function Test: A State-of-the-Art Review

van der Avoort, Stijn J. C*; van Heerbeek, Niels*; Zielhuis, Gerhard A; Cremers, Cor W. R. J*

doi: 10.1097/
Clinically Oriented Review Article

Objective: Disturbance of any of the ET functions may contribute to the development of otitis media. Sonotubometry measures the ventilatory function using sound. The qualities of sonotubometry as a test for eustachian tube ventilatory function have been studied by various investigators. The development of the method is described in the review, and a summary of the study results is provided to make an estimate of the diagnostic potential of this eustachian tube function test.

Data Sources: The English-language literature on the topic was searched systematically by Medline and Pubmed using the following key words: ventilatory function, eustachian tube, sonotubometry, and function test. There were no limits for the year of publication.

Study Selection: Articles that described the method itself (validity, reproducibility, diagnostic value) were studied in detail.

Data Extraction: All the articles described in study selection were used for this review.

Conclusions: The technique of sonotubometry has been improved gradually over the years. The results of sonotubometry are at least as good as those of other function tests. However, because the results still tend to be ambiguous in children and otitis media is most common in this population, the reproducibility and application of sonotubometry must be evaluated further. Sonotubometry has great advantages over other function tests, but it is not used routinely to assess eustachian tube ventilatory function because its value for clinical practice has not yet been adequately demonstrated. The review showed that sonotubometry can be improved further and that efforts to do so seem justified because it forms a particularly promising method to assess eustachian tube function in children with suspected eustachian tube disease.

Departments of *Otorhinolaryngology and †Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Stijn J. C. van der Avoort, M.D., Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Philips van Leydenlaan 15, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Email:

© 2005 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.