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February 1975

Accuracy of the Bing and Rinne Tuning Fork Tests

Author Affiliations

From the Program in Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of Washington, Seattle (Dr. Wilson), and the Edmonds School District, Edmonds, Wash (L. Woods).

Arch Otolaryngol. 1975;101(2):81-85. doi:10.1001/archotol.1975.00780310003001

Fifty children seen in an ENT clinic received the Bing and Rinne tuning fork tests, otoscopic examination, and puretone audiometry to determine the accuracy of the tuning fork tests in predicting otoscopic abnormality or conductive hearing loss. Neither tuning fork test showed high accuracy.

The Bing test overidentified by yielding negative results (conductive loss) for many ears with normal hearing or sensorineural loss. It correctly identified conductive loss or otoscopic abnormality only slightly better than chance—57% to 66% of the time. The Rinne test identified with high accuracy those ears with a 40 dB or greater air-bone gap. For air-bone gaps of 10-35 dB, only 27% of the ears gave negative results, meaning correct identification. However, when a negative Rinne occurred, the result was in error only 2% of the time.