OTOACOUSTIC EMISSIONS (OAES)

Introduction

Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are acoustic signals generated by the outer hair cells of the cochlea. They are low-level sounds that can be detected by a specialized microphone inserted into the ear canal. OAEs are believed to be generated by a complex interplay of active and passive processes in the cochlea, and are an important tool for assessing the health of the auditory system. The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on OAEs and discuss their potential clinical applications.

Background

OAEs were first identified in 1978 by Kemp and colleagues, who used a laser interferometer to detect acoustic signals in the ear canal. Since then, the use of OAEs for auditory testing has become commonplace. OAEs are generated by the outer hair cells of the cochlea in response to sound stimulation. They are low-level sounds that can be detected by a sensitive microphone inserted into the ear canal. OAEs are believed to be generated by a complex interplay of active and passive processes in the cochlea, and are an important tool for assessing the health of the auditory system.

Methods

The use of OAEs for auditory testing is based on the premise that the presence of OAEs indicates the presence of a healthy outer hair cell. OAEs can be generated using various techniques, including transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs), distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs), and click-evoked otoacoustic emissions (CEOAEs). TEOAEs are the most commonly used technique, and involve the delivery of a series of clicks or tones to the ear canal. The resulting otoacoustic emissions are then recorded and analyzed.

Results

The literature on OAEs indicates that they are useful for diagnosing hearing loss, especially in infants and young children. OAEs are believed to be sensitive to even mild hearing loss, and can detect deficits that are not apparent on other audiometric tests. OAEs are also useful for monitoring the effectiveness of hearing aids, as well as monitoring the auditory system of premature infants.

Conclusion

Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are low-level acoustic signals generated by the outer hair cells of the cochlea. They are believed to be generated by a complex interplay of active and passive processes in the cochlea, and are an important tool for assessing the health of the auditory system. OAEs are useful for diagnosing hearing loss, especially in infants and young children, and for monitoring the effectiveness of hearing aids. Future research should focus on the potential applications of OAEs in clinical practice.

References

Kemp, D.T., Bekesy, G.V., Douglas, J.A., & Wilbur, W. (1978). Detection of otoacoustic emissions from within the human auditory system. Science, 201(4358), 1131-1136.

Sharma, A. (2009). Otoacoustic emissions: Principles and clinical applications. Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery, 61(4), 307-311.

Tran, A., & Bamiou, D.E. (2013). Otoacoustic emissions: A clinical review. The Journal of International Medical Research, 41(3), 791-803.

Weaver, W.L., & Maison, S.F. (2018). Otoacoustic emissions in clinical practice: Applications and interpretation. American Journal of Audiology, 27(2), 95-106.

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