Measurement of Otoacoustic Emissions can be a useful tool for the objective screening of patients for possible hearing loss. An otoacoustic emission test can be used to determine if the tiny hair cells in the inner ear are functioning normally. A small plastic sensor, that contains a microphone and a speaker, is placed in the ear canal which measures an echo response that is produced by the inner ear (cochlea) in response to a sound stimulus.
The procedure is painless and can be performed at any age, even in the newborns. Patients do not need to respond in any way; they simply need to remain quiet for a few minutes. With infants and young children, this test is best performed while the child is asleep.