Summary of: Sanford, C. A., Keefe, D. H., Liu, Y. W., Fitzpatrick, D., McCreery, R. W., Lewis, D. E., & Gorga, M. P. (2009). Sound-conduction effects on distortion-product otoacoustic emission screening outcomes in newborn infants: test performance of wideband acoustic transfer functions and 1-kHz tympanometry. Ear and hearing, 30(6), 635–652. https://doi.org/10.1097/AUD.0b013e3181b61cdc
Universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) outcomes are essential for early hearing detection and intervention programs. However, UNHS outcomes relating to sound conduction via the middle ear may mask underlying sensorineural pathologies and obscure the appropriate invention plan. This study compares the test performance of 1 kHz tympanometry to wideband tympanometry (WBT) and absorbance for the ability to predict the conduction path via the middle ear for 455 ears that pass or refer within in a distortion-product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) UNHS program. Results indicate that ambient wideband absorbance is the best predictor of the sound conduction pathway and that ears that pass a DPOAE UNHS typically have higher absorbance (i.e., more efficient conductive path) relative to ears that do not pass. Relative to 1 kHz tympanometry, wideband tympanometry and absorbance are better in classifying UNHS outcomes and predicting the conductive path via the middle ear. In sum, WB metrics provide additional information over 1 kHz tympanometry in terms of changes in sound conduction over the first two days of life. This study emphasizes how wideband measurements in conjunction with DPOAEs can be particularly useful within UNHS programs.