Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Hearing Test Can Improve Diagnosis Of Middle Ear Disorders

Date:
November 23, 1999
Source:
Ohio University
Summary:
A new test developed by a Nebraska researcher and studied by scientists at Ohio University could offer doctors a better diagnostic tool for middle ear infections and other hearing disorders than currently available exams.

Contact: Andrea Gibson, (740) 597-2166.

Related Articles


ATHENS, Ohio – A new test developed by a Nebraska researcher and studied by scientists at Ohio University could offer doctors a better diagnostic tool for middle ear infections and other hearing disorders than currently available exams.

The technique, called wide-band reflectance, could help clinicians understand how middle ear infection, hardening of the ear bones, facial nerve paralysis or other middle ear disorders impact a patient's hearing at various frequencies.

Unlike the commonly used audiogram, the new technique doesn't rely on patients to respond to a series of tones. That's a problem with small children ­ highly prone to middle ear infection ­ who may be unable to accurately participate in a hearing test.

In 34 patients with normal hearing, the wide-band reflectance test detected an acoustic reflex ­ the middle ear's reaction to loud sounds ­ at least 10 decibels lower on average than the standard hearing test, says Ohio University audiologist Patrick Feeney, who presented the study findings Friday at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's annual convention in San Francisco.

The findings indicate that doctors can use softer sounds in the ear canal to make a diagnosis. Some traditional exams may expose patients to intense noise during testing, which has reportedly caused hearing loss in rare cases, says Feeney, an assistant professor of hearing and speech sciences.

When the middle ear is exposed to loud sounds, the muscle contracts, which audiologists believe is a defense mechanism to protect against hearing damage. When the muscle doesn't contract, doctors suspect that the patient could be suffering from a middle ear disorder.

"If we can indicate that a person's reflex is present, it indicates that the middle ear is working well, that the facial nerve -- which innervates the muscle -- is working and that the person has a functional hearing nerve," Feeney says.

However, the traditional clinical exam, which uses a single, low-frequency 226 hertz tone to gauge the ear's health, doesn't always offer the whole picture. This test might show that a patient has no acoustic reflex. But the wide-band reflectance technique, which measures how the middle ear reacts to frequencies ranging from 250 hertz to 8,000 hertz, could show that the ear does have a reflex when measured at higher frequencies, Feeney says. That could lead to a more accurate diagnosis of and treatment for the patient's problem.

Another advantage to this new technique: A patient complaining of a middle ear problem might have a normal reading using conventional tests, but using wide-band reflectance could confirm the disorder at higher frequencies than detected through the traditional tympanogram exam.

"The reflectance technique allows the audiologist to measure the function of the middle ear over the frequency range important for hearing speech," he says.

The wide-band reflectance technique, developed by Douglas Keefe of the Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, Neb., uses a series of eight chirping sounds emitted into the ear canal to determine how well the middle ear reacts to sounds that span the human speech range. Computer software analyzes the data, graphing the middle ear's performance. The procedure takes only a few seconds.

In the recent study, Feeney used wide-band reflectance to trigger a middle ear reaction an average 10.9 decibels lower than the traditional clinical method. The research grew out of an initial wide-band reflectance study on three subjects, published in October in the Journal of Speech-Language-Hearing Research.

Though Keefe developed the wide-band reflectance method in 1992, research into its clinical applications is still under way. Feeney is using the technique to study patients with otitis media, or middle ear infections, and to determine what impact aging has on the middle ear.

The research on wide-band reflectance was funded by a grant from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation. Feeney holds an appointment in the College of Health and Human Services.

-30-

Written by Andrea Gibson.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio University. "New Hearing Test Can Improve Diagnosis Of Middle Ear Disorders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 November 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991123075754.htm>.
Ohio University. (1999, November 23). New Hearing Test Can Improve Diagnosis Of Middle Ear Disorders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991123075754.htm
Ohio University. "New Hearing Test Can Improve Diagnosis Of Middle Ear Disorders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991123075754.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins