Saturday, August 27, 2011

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Hearing Screen

  • The normal cochlea produces sound in response to external stimulation; this internally generated sound is the measured response during OAE tests.
  • To measure OAEs, a small probe is placed in the infant’s ear canal and sound is presented by either one or two tiny loudspeakers. Any response generated by the ear is recorded with a small microphone housed inside the probe.
  • If an infant’s cochlea is functioning normally, internally generated sounds will be recorded.
  • If cochlear hearing loss exists, the cochlea either will not generate a response or it will generate a response that falls below the level that is expected from an ear with normal hearing.
  • Normal external and middle ear function is important if OAE measurements are to be interpreted correctly as tests of cochlear function. Even if a cochlea is functioning normally and produces an OAE, the response may not be recorded if it is attenuated by fluid in the middle ear or any external ear canal anomalies.

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