Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are low level, inaudible sounds produced by the outer hair cells of the inner ear (cochlea). OAEs can either occur spontaneously or in response to clicks or tones. When the hair cells of the inner ear are stimulated, they respond by sending information to the brain and by sending an “echo” back to the outer ear. This “echo” can be analyzed and recorded. OAEs are usually present in individuals with a normal functioning cochlea but may be absent if even a mild conductive or cochlear hearing loss exists.
OAE testing is conducted on infants prior to leaving the hospital as part of the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program. At ENTAA Care we perform OAE testing on infants who were referred from the hospital or were not screened because they were born at home or in a birthing center.