What is an otoacoustic emissions test?

Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) testing is a way to measure inner ear function. This test does not require that children tell or show that sounds are heard. Therefore, this test may be used to screen an infant's hearing or done on anyone. Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are measured with a soft earplug. It indicates whether the hair cells of the cochlea (inner ear) are functioning, and can be measured to be present or absent as long as your child has no wax or fluid in the ear.

How is the test performed?

The test is performed by a soft earplug being inserted into the ear canal. A series of clicks are presented. Otoacoustic emissions are "echoes" emitted by the cochlea (organ of hearing) in response to those sounds. The "echo" is measure with the probe in the ear canal to screen the child's hearing.