Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) testing is an objective measure of the integrity of cochlear outer hair cell function. This test is used in conjunction with other findings to verify a patient’s hearing status and/or measure the function of cochlear outer hair cells. OAEs are commonly used for screening the hearing of infants, children, and patients who are unable to respond subjectively to auditory input. OAE findings can also help to distinguish between cochlear versus neural hearing loss. We perform two types of OAE testing: transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAE) and distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE).
During the OAE evaluation, a soft tip will be placed in the patient’s ear. This tip contains a speaker and a microphone. A variety of sounds will be sent via the speaker through the ear canal, the middle ear space, and lastly to the hair cells in the cochlea. The hair cells will then emit a response which is picked up by the microphone. The response is measured, interpreted and recorded. Test time can range from 5 minutes to 15 minutes depending on the age and state of the patient.