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Ear Hear. 2013 Jul;34 Suppl 1:48S-53S. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e31829c964d.

Assessment of ear disorders using power reflectance.

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Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


This article describes the effect of various pathologies on power reflectance (PR) and absorbance measured in human adults. The pathologies studied include those affecting the tympanic membrane, the middle-ear ossicles, the middle-ear cavity, the inner ear, and intracranial pressure. Interesting pathology-induced changes in PR that are statistically significant have been reported. Nevertheless, because measurements of PR obtained from normal-hearing subjects have large variations and some pathology-induced changes are small, it can be difficult to use PR alone for differential diagnosis. There are, however, common clinical situations without reliable diagnostic methods that can benefit from PR measurements. These conditions include ears with a normal-appearing tympanic membrane, aerated middle-ear cavity, and unknown etiology of conductive hearing loss. PR measurements in conjunction with audiometric measurements of air–bone gap have promise in differentiating among stapes fixation, ossicular discontinuity, and superior semicircular canal dehiscence. Another possible application is to monitor an individual for possible changes in intracranial pressure. Descriptions of mechanisms affecting PR change and utilization of PR measurements in clinical scenarios are presented.

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