Otoacoustic Emission (OAE Testing)
A cochlea that is functioning normally both receives sound and produces low-intensity, measurable sounds called OAEs. OAEs are absent when an infant/child has a sensorineural hearing loss. OAEs are measured by presenting a series of sounds to the ear through a probe that is inserted in the ear canal. The probe contains a loudspeaker that generates the sounds and a microphone that measures the resulting OAEs. The resulting sound that is picked up by the microphone is digitized and processed using signal averaging methodology. It is important to note that middle ear fluid, or negative middle ear pressure associated with otitis media (ear infections), can interfere with OAE measurement. The middle ear must be clear for OAE equipment to accurately assess cochlear functioning.