What Is Otoacoustic Emission Testing?
Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are low-level sounds generated by the outer hair cells of the cochlea (inner ear) in response to auditory stimuli. OAEs are present in nearly all normal-hearing ears. Absent OAEs indicate hearing loss and/or middle ear pathology.
What Will Happen During The Test?
An OAE probe with ear tip is inserted into the ear canal to obtain a seal. The acoustic signal is presented from the probe. The signal travels through the ear canal, the middle ear, and finally reaches the cochlea where the outer hair cells are excited and the emission is generated. The emission travels back through the middle and outer ears and is detected by a highly sensitive microphone in the OAE probe. Other than the annoyance of having a soft plug in your ear canal, the patient will not experience any discomfort. Newborns will often sleep during the entire procedure. The testing will take approximately 30 minutes from start to finish.