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December 1991

Distortion-Product and Click-Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions in Healthy Newborns

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Otolaryngology, Surgical Research Center, Center for Neurological Sciences, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(12):1382-1389. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870240074012

• Distortion-product otoacoustic emissions (DPOEs) are believed to provide frequency-specific information about cochlear function. The DPOEs have been reported in the adult population but have not been reported previously in the neonatal population. We recorded DPOEs from a group of healthy full-term newborn human subjects (35 ears) to establish the characteristics of these emissions in the newborn population. To our knowledge, this is the first study of DPOEs in newborns. The "DPOE audiograms" from the newborns tested revealed characteristics qualitatively similar to those seen in adults with normal hearing. This study demonstrates the feasibility of DPOE measurements among newborns and provides a normal baseline for this age group, thus fulfilling a necessary step toward the development of an objective, noninvasive frequency-specific test of cochlear function. Click-evoked otoacoustic emissions were also recorded from the newborn population and compared with click-evoked otoacoustic emissions from adults. The spectrum of the click-evoked emissions was variable and individualistic, similar to findings previously reported in adult subjects. The click-evoked otoacoustic emissions of the newborns had a higher overall level and contained stronger high-frequency (4.5 to 6 kHz) spectral components than those of the adults. We also found that the low-frequency components of the click stimulus spectrum were attenuated in the neonatal ears exhibiting a high-pass slope below about 2.5 kHz, whereas the stimulus spectrum was nearly flat in this frequency region in adult ears.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117:1382-1389)

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