A small probe is placed in the child’s ear canal. This probe delivers a low-volume sound stimulus into the ear.
Tone or click stimuli are delivered, which travels from middle ear to inner ear where OAE is generated by the outer hair cells of the cochlea. This travels back and is measured with a microphone.
In approximately 30 seconds, the result is displayed on the screening unit as a “pass” or “refer.” The echo is found in normal hearing. If there is no echo, it could indicate a hearing loss.
Handheld otoacoustic emissions (OAE) screening is the most practical method for screening infants and toddlers because it :
Objective and not dependent on a behavioral response from the child
Reliable and efficient
Help to detect sensorineural hearing loss and wide range of hearing-health concerns
Is quick and painless
Simple and portable
Refer, an absent response to a click, does not always mean total deafness, but it does mean that your baby needs his/her hearing looking at more carefully.
The ear will not pass the screening if there is –
Blockage in the ear canal by wax or amniotic
Structural problem or excess fluid in the middle ear
Impaired cochlea that is not responding normally to sound
All newborn should be screened at birth, or, within a month’s time.
Visual inspection – Outer ear abnormalities, foreign objects or blockage in the ear canal, any fluids draining from the ear, or noticeable odor; If any abnormal conditions are present, medical management is doe by ENT specialist.
Ist OAE screening – If both cars pass the test, the child’s hearing screening is considered complete
Those who have high-risk for hearing loss should be followed up at intervals of 6 months even if they are cleared at the screening. (As per Joint Committee on Infant Hearing 2000 position statement)
If the child does not pass the screening on any ear child is evaluated and managed by ENT specialist for a possible middle ear disorder within 3 months of age.
Repeat OAE screening– After treatment and/or medical clearance is obtained, the OAI screening is repeated if the ear passes the test, no further screening
However, if the ear dues not pass the Repeat test child is referred to a pediatric audiologist for complete Hearing evaluation like BERA (ABR), ASSR and Impedance.
Appropriate measures such as hearing aid fitting should be initiated before 6 months.