otoacoustic emissions

Jeffrey G. Sirianni sirianni at uts.cc.utexas.edu
Thu Nov 23 09:37:09 EST 1995

In article <491o1s$k2j at newsbf02.news.aol.com>, dancewater at aol.com (Dancewater) says:
>I am finding otoacoustic emissions to be VERY helpful in diagnosing/
>screening young children for hearing loss.  My of my clients are
>multiplied handicapped, and OAEs are invaluable.  It is also a useful
>diagnostic tool for seperating sensory vs. neural hearing loss.  I don't
>want to see a hearing aid or cochlear implant on someone with a normally
>functioning cochlea.  There is still a lot to learn about OAEs, but they
>look very promising.

You bring up a very interesting point, one in which I was very interested in
a few years ago.  In multi-handicapped children, especially those with CNS
disorders, it is possible that ABR/MLR results may indicate hearing loss, but
the child may actually exhibits occasional behaviors of hearing (i.e. head turn
on name).  Some of these children are so inconsistant in soundfield testing, that
behavioral responses during audiometric testing can yield responses that vary by
50-60 dB from day to day.  ABR/MLR responses are dependent on neural synchrony
in order to generate a large enough response for averaging techniques to separate
it from random noise.  An absent ABR or MLR does not indicate that a person cannot
hear, only that the potentials evoked by acoustic stimuli are not significantly
large.  The use of OAEs can be invaluable in cases of suspected hearing in children
and adults who are multi-handicapped.  My experience was limited (we tested a few
children); the children either had middle ear problems or were too noisy during
the testing session.  It is a project on my neural backburner.

Jeff Sirianni     @(((<{
University of Texas at Austin
Communication Sciences and Disorders
CMA, 2nd Floor Clinic
Austin, TX  78712-1089
sirianni at uts.cc.utexas.edu
jgsaudio at aol.com

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