TO toacoustic Emissions (OAE) hearing screening is conducted with a portable unit connected to a small earphone or “probe.” Placed in the child’s ear, the probe delivers a series of quiet sounds that travel through the ear canal and the small bones in the middle ear to reach the inner ear (cochlea).
A cochlea that is functioning normally responds to sound by sending a signal to the brain, while also producing an “acoustic emission” –a very small sound wave response -that travels back through the ear. The emission is picked up by a tiny, sensitive microphone inside the probe, the response is analyzed by the screening
unit, and in about 30 seconds the result is summarized on the screen as a “pass” or a “refer.”
The OAE screening can be conducted in classroom, home or health care settings.
It can even be done while a child is playing quietly or sleeping. If a child does not pass the
OAE screening, then further evaluation by a health care provider or audiologist is needed to determine the cause of the problem and the appropriate intervention.