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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2002 May 31;64(1):51-60.

Transient evoked otoacoustic emissions in children studying in special schools.

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Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.



The present study aimed to investigate the feasibility and practicalities of testing children in special school settings using transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAE) and tympanometry. Children studying in special schools, particularly those with intellectual impairment, may be highly susceptible to hearing pathologies and can be difficult to assess using traditional test batteries. Researchers have recently suggested the possible applicability of TEOAE testing, in lieu of conventional behavioral methods, as a hearing screening device for persons with intellectual impairment. However, to date, few publications have detailed the particulars and results of such testing.


A total of 489 children, with a mean age of 9.6 years, were tested in 15 special schools. Case information was obtained regarding birth history, medical history and type/degree of impairment, for later comparison with screening results. TEOAEs were collected using Quickscreen mode of the ILO292 Otodynamics Analyzer, whilst tympanometry was performed utilizing a Madsen Zodiac 901 Middle Ear Analyzer.


In total, 80% of students were able to be tested using TEOAEs. Average test time per ear was 2 min. However, a large proportion (40% of those able to be tested) failed TEOAE testing in at least one ear. No significant effects were found between could-not-test (CNT) cases and case history factors. A significant difference in TEOAE failure rates was found across history of neonatal special care nursery residency and history of parental concern regarding possible hearing impairment. Failure rates were higher for those who indicated positive histories. A total of 74% of subjects could be tested using tympanometry, with 25% of those able to be tested failing in at least one ear. Notably, neither type nor degree of impairment had any significant bearing on CNT or failure rates for tympanometry or TEOAE screening.


Findings of the present investigation lend support to the review of hearing screening programs for children in special schools, with TEOAEs presenting as a potential alternative procedure. Further examination of the performance measures of protocols incorporating TEOAEs would now be advantageous.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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