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Otoacoustic emissions as a screening test for hearing impairment in children.
  1. M P Richardson,
  2. T J Williamson,
  3. S W Lenton,
  4. M J Tarlow,
  5. P T Rudd
  1. Bath Unit for Research into Paediatrics, Children's Centre, Royal United Hospital.


    Transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) are low amplitude sound waves produced by the healthy cochlea. They can be recorded with a microphone in the external ear. TEOAEs are abolished by hearing losses of 30 dB or more. The feasibility of using TEOAEs as a screening test for hearing loss in children was studied. TEOAE recordings were attempted in 56 children attending an audiology clinic. Recordings were possible from both ears in 52 children; of these 104 ears, 32 had hearing deficits of 30 dB or more. Hearing status was compared with the results of six TEOAE screening criteria. All criteria had a sensitivity of 1.00. Four standard TEOAE criteria yielded specificities of 0.46-0.58. Two new criteria derived from analysis of limited frequencies from the TEOAE waveform gave specificities of 0.76 and 0.82. It can be concluded that, when appropriate pass/fail criteria are employed, TEOAEs are a feasible screening test in children.

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