OAE Expert

Improves the ability to identify, assess and monitor ears with noise-induced mechanical damage and/or hearing loss.

World-first multivariate statistical model applied to the use of Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) quantifying the Outer Hair Cell (OHC) -function as a percentage per frequency. The outcome is visualized graphically (per ear) and reported both as an index of cochlear damage (OHC Damage Index) and a degree of remaining cochlear function (Cochlear Reserve) in a highly reproducible manner. Furthermore, based on the cochlear reserve of both ears, an estimate is made of the impact on a person’s communication. If this is compromised, the tool flags the appropriate action in relation to the degree of dysfunction.

One of the shortcomings in diagnostic audiology and hearing conservation programs is that we keep using the same limited test battery, dominated by behavioral tests. The ‘OAE expert’ tool is game changing for ENT specialists, audiologists and hearing care professionals when it comes to implement OAEs as an objective hearing shift assessment tool outside of the screening setting.

OAE Expert
In a medical setting
The OAE Expert instrument expands the overall diagnostic power (tinnitus, monitoring ototoxicity, malingering…) and is of great value for differential diagnosis of hearing loss (conductive, cochlear or retrocochlear). Furthermore, it facilitates instructional counseling by presenting measurement results in a comprehensive and attractive way.

For health surveillance
The widespread approach to dealing with industrial noise is to provide hearing protection and conduct Pure Tone Audiometry (audiograms) at regular intervals. This approach has been commonplace for many decades but has little real impact on the number of notifications or compensation claims for noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). This suggests that the current approach is not very effective and that compliance with current regulations is not enough to prevent the effects of noise. It calls for interventions beyond simple regulatory compliance. A baseline audiogram together with a baseline OAE Expert should be made prior to the surveillance period. We then monitor with OAEs only, using the OHC Damage Index and/or Cochlear Reserve as biomarkers for hearing damage and to assess the effectiveness of the preventive measures taken. This approach will move hearing health surveillance programs to a more informed, proactive and efficient approach.