External and middle ear effects on infant hearing screening test results

Karen Jo Doyle, Paula Rodgers, Sharon Fujikawa, Erin Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


This study investigated the relationship between external and middle ear factors and hearing screening results by automated auditory brain stem response (ABR) and transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions (EOAEs). The ears of 200 healthy newborns aged 5 to 48 hours underwent screening by ABR and EOAE, followed by otoscopic examination. The pass rates for ABR and EOAE were 91% and 58.5%, respectively. On otoscopic examination, 28% (112/400) ears had occluding vernix obscuring the view of the tympanic membrane. Cleaning of vernix was successfully performed in all but 2 ears that had occluding vernix. Cleaning of vernix significantly increased the pass rates of all 400 ears for ABR and EOAE to 96% and 69%. Decreased tympanic membrane mobility was found in 22.7% (90/396) of ears that were evaluated otoscopically. Decreased tympanic membrane mobility had a significant effect on EOAE screening; only 33.4% of ears passed EOAE testing. Decreased tympanic membrane mobility did not significantly affect pass rates for ABR screening; 95% of these ears passed the automated ABR screen. Implications for newborn hearing screening are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-481
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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