Definition of Otoacoustic emission test
Otoacoustic emission test: a type of hearing test that measures an acoustic response produced by the inner ear (cochlea), which in essence bounces back out of the ear in response to a sound stimulus. The test is performed by placing a small probe that contains a microphone and speaker into the patient's ear. Sounds are generated in the probe and responses that come back from the cochlea are recorded. Once the cochlea processes the sound, an electrical stimulus is sent to the brainstem. In addition, there is a second and separate sound that does not travel up the nerve, but comes back out into the ear canal. This "byproduct" is the otoacoustic emission. The emission is then recorded with the microphone probe and represented pictorially on a computer screen. The audiologist can determine which sounds yielded a response/emission and the strength of those responses. The test is used in a number of different ways to test hearing. See also: OAE.
Last Editorial Review: 10/8/2012
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