Training in OAE

Using OAEs as a Diagnostic Tool

10 mins
07 February 2022



This quick guide video will discuss using otoacoustic emissions as a diagnostic tool and introduce some applications for OAE testing outside of newborn hearing screening.

Over recent years, the functionality of OAE devices has improved dramatically. And as a consequence of this, their use should not be limited to newborn hearing screening programs alone.

Instead, the OAE test has a high value in supporting diagnostic audiological evaluations in a wide range of patient groups.

This has become possible through several technological advancements.


1. Increased frequency range

Firstly, OAE devices now have the functionality to test over a wide range of frequencies. This allows clinicians to use OAE as a tool to assess the outer hair cell function across a wide range of the cochlea.

A patient group which can benefit from such a broad cochlear assessment is those undertaking ototoxic medication or those who are at risk of hearing loss due to high levels of occupational noise.

OAE acts as a rapid test of outer hair cell functionality for these patients and the OAE result can demonstrate outer hair cell damage prior to this being detected by conventional pure tone audiometry.


2. Identify frequency regions to test

Secondly, improvements in device functionality enable clinicians to be able to identify specific frequencies to test. This allows for evaluation of a specific region in the cochlea.

This is particularly useful in the assessment of tinnitus patients where an in-depth assessment of the suspected region of the cochlea thought to be the root cause of the tinnitus is required.

By selecting a specific region, clinicians can save time by only undertaking a detailed assessment of the area they wish to test rather than the entire length of the basilar membrane.


3. Customizable protocols

Lastly, by being able to customize stimulus levels, OAE signal-to-noise ratio, and test time, clinicians have the flexibility to create user-defined protocols and identify their preferred OAE pass criteria.

A patient group that can benefit from such functionality is those suffering from non-organic hearing loss. The OAE can be a quick and valuable asset in the diagnostic test battery for these patients. By having test flexibility, the clinician can configure the test to the needs of both the patient and the clinic.


Leigh Martin
Leigh Martin is a British Audiologist and adjunct lecturer at the University of Cork, Ireland. Clinically, he has worked in the National Health Service specializing in paediatric audiology as well as vestibular diagnostics and rehabilitation. Leigh has also sat on the board of directors for the British Academy of Audiology. Since 2013, Leigh has supported the growth and development of the Interacoustics Academy and holds the position of Director of the Academy. Leigh has presented at numerous scientific conferences and meetings across a diverse range of audiological topics as well as having published papers in both video head impulse testing (vHIT) and wideband tympanometry.

Popular Academy Advancements

Interacoustics - hearing and balance diagnosis and rehabilitation
Copyright © Interacoustics A/S. All rights reserved.