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Ear Hear. 2006 Jun;27(3):256-62.

Neonatal hearing screening: evaluation of tone-burst and click-evoked otoacoustic emission test criteria.

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1
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. dbmcpher@hkucc.hku.hk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Click-evoked otoacoustic emissions (CEOAEs) are widely used in universal neonatal hearing screening programs. A common finding in many such programs is a relatively high false-positive rate. This is often due to infant physiological noise adversely affecting the emission recording, leading to a "refer" screening outcome. In an attempt to reduce false-positive screening outcomes related to the effects of noise on otoacoustic emission response detection, tone-burst-evoked otoacoustic emissions (TBOAEs) were included in a neonatal hearing screening program because TBOAEs may elicit a greater signal-to-noise ratio than CEOAEs. The research project compared the pass/refer rate for a CEOAE-based test using established pass/refer criteria with the pass/refer rate for screening criteria that were based on TBOAE results alone or on combined CEOAE and TEOAE results.

DESIGN:

Neonates were recruited at the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital, and both CEOAEs and TBOAEs were performed. Six passing criteria were used in this study, based on CEOAEs only; CEOAEs plus 1 kHz TBOAEs; CEOAEs plus 2 kHz TBOAEs; CEOAEs plus 3 kHz TBOAEs; CEOAEs plus 1, 2, and 3 kHz TBOAEs; and TBOAEs only.

RESULTS:

Data from 298 neonates (546 ears) were obtained. Criteria set 1, using CEOAEs only, demonstrated a pass rate of 79.1%, and 114 ears were referred. Criteria set 2, using CEOAEs together with TBOAEs recorded at 1 kHz, passed 39 more ears than Protocol 1, and the pass rate was 86.3%. Hence, the overall referral rate for total number of screened ears decreased by 7.2 percentage points. Criteria set 3, using CEOAEs together with TBOAEs recorded at 2 kHz, and Criteria set 4, using CEOAEs in conjunction with TBOAEs recorded at 3 kHz, gave pass rates similar to Criteria set 1. Criteria set 5, using TBOAE information at frequencies where CEOAEs were not rated as "pass," raised the pass rate from 79.1 to 87.6%, reducing the overall referral rate by 8.5 percentage points. Criteria set 6, in which neonates were screened with TBOAEs recorded at 1, 2, and 3 kHz, gave a pass rate of 78.4%, similar to results for the CEOAE-only procedure.

CONCLUSIONS:

Both Criteria sets 2 and 5, which combined CEOAE and TBOAE recordings, gave significantly higher pass rates than Criteria sets 1, 3, 4, and 6. The results suggest that the introduction of combined CEOAE and TBOAE protocols may assist in the reduction of refer outcomes, and hence the false-positive rates, of neonatal hearing screening programs.

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