are acoustic signals that can be detected in the ear canal of a person with normal outer hair cell function, subsequent to stimulation of the auditory system.
Available evidence suggests that Otoacoustic Emissions are generated by the cochlea's outer hair cells, and that the presence of Otoacoustic Emissions is an indication that the outer hair cells are normal.
Although Otoacoustic Emissions test data provide no indication of inner hair cell function, or of hearing ability, current research indicates that the majority of hearing impaired individuals will be identified by a simple Otoacoustic Emissions test. Patients who fail to generate Otoacoustic Emissions should be rescreened and/or referred for additional audiological testing as Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR), Tympanometry and an age appropriate way of audiometry.
The Otoacoustic Emissions test itself is not invasive and does not require any prior medication. The duration is only about 10 seconds per ear.
Otoacoustic Emissions is used as a very effective tool in identifying hearing impaired babies.
See also Neonatal Hearing Screening Program.