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October 1991

Objective Low-Frequency Audiometry by Distortion-Product Acoustic Emissions

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Hospital Robert Debré, Faculty Xavier Bichat (Drs Bonfils and Narcy), and the Department of Biophysics, Hospital Lariboisiére, Faculty Lariboisiére (Dr Avan), University of Paris VII, and the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Hospital Boucicaut, Faculty Necker-Enfants-Malades, University of Paris V (Drs Bonfils, Londero, and Trotoux), Paris, France.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(10):1167-1171. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870220115021

• The aim of this study was to measure distortion-product otoacoustic emissions (DPOEs) in a clinical setting. First, DPOE input-output functions were automatically realized to determine the ratio of the pure tones (primaries) f2 and f1 that would elicit the most significant DPOE input-output function. The DPOE input-output functions presented two separate portions for the f2/f1 ratio, ranging from 1.18 to 1.26: (1) below 60-dB sound pressure level (SPL), a saturating portion with a DPOE detection threshold at 36-dB SPL; and (2) above 66-dB SPL, a linear portion. For other f2/f1 ratios, DPOE input-output functions had a more linear behavior. The DPOEs generated by primary intensities below 60-dB SPL, which show saturating behavior, probably have their origin in the properties of outer hair cells. This indicates that DPOE measurements in a clinical setting must be realized with precise stimulus values: (1) f2/f1 ratio near 1.22, and (2) primary intensities below 60-dB SPL. Second, DPOE input-output functions were realized for DPOEs varying from 707.5 to 342 Hz. No more saturating plateau could be observed with DPOEs below 512.5 Hz, suggesting that active mechanisms are absent below 725 Hz within the human cochlea. These data permit us to establish the bases of an objective low-frequency audiometric test.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117:1167-1171)

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