OAE is a non-invasive test that measures how the cochlea, the auditory portion of the inner ear, responds to sound. A small plug is placed in the outer ear and soft sounds are presented to the patient. The amount of response is monitored and recorded automatically. With this process, children who are still too small to talk or respond can be accurately tested.
OAE testing is done on children and adults to provide an accurate measurement of cochlear response. It can detect small changes in ear functions often before they’re recognized by the patient. For example, the test is used to monitor oncology patients to alert the oncologist in the event of even minor changes in ear function related to chemotherapy. While this technology greatly expands the age range of those we can test, we begin testing with children six months of age, sending 0-6 month babies to a children’s hospital to be tested with possible sedation techniques if a hearing problem is suspected.
If you have a toddler who suffers from ear infections or isn’t talking as he or she should, or if you notice hearing loss yourself, please see your child’s pediatrician or your family physician. Your physician can request a referral to Dr. Barker for audiology testing. Please call her office at ext. 4143.