The benefits of OAE screening

May 20, 2020

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.