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J Acoust Soc Am. 1997 Nov;102(5 Pt 1):2871-9.

Basic characteristics of distortion product otoacoustic emissions in infants and children.

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Syracuse University, New York 13244-2280, USA.


Distortion-product otoacoustic emissions at the 2 f1-f2 frequency (DPOAEs) are being advocated as a clinical tool for diagnosis of peripheral auditory pathology. Because they can be measured quickly and noninvasively, they may be an excellent method for identifying hearing loss in infants and children. However, few studies have examined the characteristics of DPOAEs in infants and children or detailed if, and how, their responses differ from those of adults. The purpose of the current study was to determine basic characteristics of DPOAEs in infants, toddlers, children, and young adults and to define any differences among age groups. An additional goal was to ensure that the presence of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs) did not confound any developmental effect. DPOAE input/output (I/O) functions at seven f2 frequencies and SOAEs were measured from one ear of 196 subjects. Children aged less than 1 yr had significantly higher mean DPOAE levels than older children and adults, and children aged 1-3 yr had higher mean DPOAE levels than teens and adults. These differences were dependent on frequency but were independent of f2 level and SOAE status. At every f2 frequency, groups of individuals having SOAEs had higher mean DPOAE levels than those not having SOAEs.

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