Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
The cochlea is the sensory organ for hearing contained in the inner ear. It is housed within the temporal bone which is the hardest bone in the human body. Within the cochlea is a structure called the Organ of Corti. This structure contains the inner and outer hair cells. The outer hair cells enhance our ability to hear soft sound and inhibit loud sounds. When the inner ear is damaged, you lose both the ability to hear soft sound as well as the ability to tolerate loud sound. You also lose the fine tuning structure, so sound may be distorted and not clear.
Otoacoustic emissions are signals generated by the normal inner ear, either in the absence of acoustic stimulation (spontaneous emissions) or in response to acoustic stimulation (evoked emissions). Acoustically, evoked otoacoustic emission testing allows the audiologist to understand how the outer hair cells of your inner ear are working.
This form of testing is used today for newborn hearing screenings in the hospital shortly after birth. Our office has the capability for performing this specialized testing.