Otoacoustic emissions are sounds produced in the inner ear in response to external noise. A recording of these sounds can be used to determine hearing functionality. In a normally functioning ear, the ear emits sounds in response to low decibel external noise.
What is it?
In a normally functioning ear, the cochlea (inner ear) receives sound and emits sound in response to external noise. The emissions of these sounds are known as otoacoustic emissions. These low decibel sounds are practically inaudible but can be recorded through the use of a small microphone that has been placed within the ear canal.
What should I do to prepare?
Before the otoacoustic emission test, one should ensure that the ear is unobstructed. The test must be performed in a quiet environment, so one must prepare his or herself for the quiet environment of the test.
What happens during the process?
In this noninvasive evaluation, a probe is introduced into the ear canal. This probe generates sound and also has a microphone to record any otoacoustic emissions produced by the inner ear. Sounds varying in intensity are played in the ear, and the inner ear response is recorded. These recordings are then analyzed using computer software to determine when an individual’s inner ear no longer produces an otoacoustic emission. In normally function ears, an emission will be produced by the inner ear when low-intensity sounds are generated.
What are the risks and potential complications?
There are no risks or complications associated with this noninvasive evaluation.
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