The benefits of OAE screening

May 20, 2020
Andrew J Schuman, MD, FAAP

Dr Schuman, section editor for Peds v2.0, is clinical assistant professor of Pediatrics, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire, and editorial advisory board member of Contemporary Pediatrics.

A look at the benefits of using otoacoustic emissions screening for hearing loss examination in children.

Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) technology was examined by Eiserman and colleagues in a study published in 2007.1 In this study, 3486 children aged from birth to 3 years from 52 different Head Start Program sites were screened by Head Start staff, using OAE screening technology. Of the 3486 children screened, 183 (5%) were referred for medical or audiologic follow-up. Of these 183 children, 80 were identified with a hearing loss or disorder requiring treatment or monitoring. Six of these 80 were diagnosed as having permanent hearing loss; 63 were identified with otitis media; 2 were treated for occluded pressure equalization tubes; and 9 were treated for excessive earwax or congestion.

This study suggests that OAE screening in early childhood settings helps identify approximately 1 of every 43 children as needing audiologic treatment or monitoring, and 1 of every 600 children as having a permanent hearing loss that was not previously identified.

References:

1.     Eiserman WD, Shisler L, Foust T, Buhrmann J, Winston R, White KR. Screening for hearing loss in early childhood programs. Early Child Res Q. 2007;22(1):105-117.