OAE testing with OtoRead™

11 June 2021
10 mins

What is OAE 
Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions (DPOAEs) are acoustic signals that can be detected in the ear canal of a person with normal outer hair cell function, subsequent to stimulation of the auditory system with a pair of pure tones.

Transient Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions (TEOAEs) are acoustic signals that can be detected in the ear canal of a person with normal outer hair cell function, subsequent to stimulation of the auditory system with a series of wideband clicks.

Why do OAE?
Available evidence suggests that Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are generated by the cochlea’s outer hair cells, and that the presence of OAEs is an indication that the outer hair cells are normal. Although OAE test data provide no indication of inner hair cell function, or of hearing ability, current research indicates that the majority of hearing-impaired individuals will be identified by a simple OAE test. Patients who fail to generate OAEs should be rescreened and/or referred for additional audiological testing.

How to Test?
Patient Preparation is very important. Otoscopic examination of the patient’s ear canal should be performed prior to testing. Excessive cerumen or vernix in the ear canal may interfere with the test and give invalid or incomplete results. Patients with excessive cerumen, debris, or foreign bodies in the ear canal should be referred to an audiologist or physician for removal of the blockage prior to testing. Place the patient in a position that will allow the OtoRead™ to be held steady while testing is in progress. The patient should remain still and quiet while the test is performed.

How to perform the test?

Step 1 Place an ear tip as far down as possible on the probe tip.

Step 2 Turn on the OtoRead™ by pressing the large DOWN arrow button.

Step 3 Select the test ear by pressing the LEFT or RIGHT arrow key.

Step 4 Insert the ear tip deeply into the patient’s ear canal to obtain a seal. The ear tip must seal the ear canal. The best test results are obtained when the eartip is inserted deeply into the ear canal instead of flush with the ear canal opening. Caution must be taken, however, to ensure that the eartip does not extend too deeply into the ear canal. When a seal is obtained, the OtoRead™ will automatically begin the test - first calibrating and then testing emissions.
Once the testing is finished, the unit will display “PASS” or “REFER” on the LCD display.

Step 5 When testing is completed on both ears, turn the printer on by pressing the round button on the top and place the hand-held unit in the cradle. The most recent test results for both ears will automatically print out.

Additional Information on the OtoRead™

Ear Tips

The OtoRead™ instrument comes with a box of disposable ear tips that fit a variety of ear canal sizes. The probe tip must have an ear tip attached before inserting it into an ear canal.
The ear tip kit has 12 different size ear tips from 3 mm infant ear tips to 13 mm eartips for adult testing.
After selecting an ear tip, push it onto the probe tip until it is flush against the base of the probe tip. The sound outlet tubes on the probe tip are recessed to minimize the likelihood of clogging.

Use only the eartips approved for use with the instrument. The eartips are disposable and should be replaced after each patient. Do not attempt to clean or reuse these eartips.

If the probe tip becomes plugged or clogged, it must be replaced. See below for how to replace the probe tip.

Probe tip replacement
To replace the probe tip, squeeze the tabs as shown in the pictures below. The tabs should audibly snap off the probe assembly. Pull the probe tip directly off the probe and discard it.

Obtain a replacement probe tip and orient the tip as shown in the pictures below. The probe tip will only fit on one way; be careful not to force the tip into place. Push the tip directly down onto the probe. Once the probe tip is in place on the probe, push firmly downward on the top of the tabs one at a time until a click is heard. Tug lightly on the probe tip to verify that the tip is securely attached.

If the probe tip is not connected completely, the OtoRead™ will not perform a test.

Test techniques
As with other otoacoustic emission test instruments there is a technique to learn when using the OtoRead™ instrument, especially for newborns and infants.

When testing a newborn or infant with the OtoRead instrument, the following suggestions might be helpful:

Hint 1: The newborn has to be relatively quiet and calm; it is usually preferred for the infant to be asleep.

Hint 2: When testing a newborn, gently pull down and back on the pinna to straighten out the ear canal.

Hint 3: The cone-shaped eartips tend to insert deeper down into the ear canal than the mushroom-shaped eartips. This deeper insertion into the ear canal allows for the measurement of larger emissions due to the reduced ear canal volume.

Hint 4: Warming the ear tips prior to insertion also helps to keep the baby calm during testing.



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