A great deal of the controversy associated with perilymph fistula is due to the lack of a sensitive, specific way of detecting and thus diagnosing one. The existing subjective, clinical observations need to be replaced with an objective, scientific methodology having higher specificity and sensitivity for the detection of perilymph fistula. Three detection methods presently under development are presented here. One uses a miniendoscope to observe the middle ear. This procedure is less traumatic than inspection with tympanotomy. Thus it is less likely to create artifacts that can be mistaken for a fistula leakage. The "yes-no" observation decision is to be replaced with a graded quantitative measure. The second method concentrates on detected leakage from inner to middle ear. beta 2-Transferrin, a unique endogenous substance found in perilymph and cerebrospinal fluid, can be detected with one- or two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting. The third method is a system identification fistula test. It measures a change in a physiologic response that is caused by the presence of the fistula. Classic biophysical models of the vestibular end organs can be used to predict the dynamics of responses to systems identification stimuli.