Does An Ultrasonic Cleaner Alone Provide Sufficient Disinfection for Admittance Probe Tips?

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Ear tips used for tympanometry and acoustic reflex tests are available in either disposable or reusable formats, although most ear tips available to the hearing industry are packaged as disposable. Disposable ear tips are one-time use-only items that must be disposed of immediately after use. Product packaging will either contain verbiage “disposable” or a circle with the number 2 crossed out to indicate single-use only. In this situation, the use of an ultrasonic cleaner is mute since the ear tips cannot be reused.

In the event a provider has access to ear tips packaged as reusable, the chemical product used should be a hospital-grade disinfectant capable of high-level disinfection. For example, in the United States, glutaraldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, and peracetic acid with hydrogen peroxide have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as viable high-level disinfectants.1 Having said that, certain chemicals (e.g., glutaraldehyde) should not be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner because the chemical should not be cavitated.

Ideally, the ultrasonic machine filled with ultrasonic cleaner should be used to clean reusable immittance ear tips. Once cleaned, the ear tips should be transferred to a tray filled with a hospital-grade chemical capable of achieving high-level disinfection. In the event reusable ear tips are contaminated with blood, blood by-products, pus, discharge, or copious amounts of cerumen, the tip should either be disposed of or cleaned and then sterilized before reuse.


  1. CDC (2016). A rational approach to disinfection and sterilization. Available at:
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About the author

A.U. Bankaitis, PhD, Vice President of Oaktree Products, Inc. in St. Louis, MO.

Dr. AU Bankaitis is the leading expert on infection control in the hearing industry. She earned her PhD from the University of Cincinnati in 1995 where her research publications on HIV and the auditory system led to a niche expertise in infection control. Since joining Oaktree Products as Vice President in 2004, she is a recognized resource to the hearing industry. Her extensive clinical and business experiences allow her to provide straightforward, practical solutions to providers and business owners. If you have had questions about infection control, you probably have reached out to or been referred to Dr. Bankaitis.