As a new parent, one of the most important things you want to ensure is the health and well-being of your newborn. One aspect of this is ensuring that their hearing is fully functioning. Fortunately, there is a tool that can help with this: the otoacoustic emission (OAE) machine. In this blog, we’ll explore what an OAE machine is and how it can benefit your newborn.
What is an Otoacoustic Emission Machine?
An OAE machine is a small, handheld device that is used to screen for hearing loss in newborn babies. The machine works by measuring the sounds that are produced by the inner ear in response to external sounds. These sounds are called otoacoustic emissions, and they are typically only produced when the inner ear is healthy and functioning properly.
During a screening with an OAE machine, a small probe is placed in the baby’s ear canal. The probe sends a series of quiet sounds into the ear, and the OAE machine measures the resulting emissions. If the emissions are strong and clear, it is an indication that the baby’s inner ear is functioning properly. If the emissions are weak or absent, it may be a sign of hearing loss.
Benefits of Using an OAE Machine for Newborns
- Early Detection of Hearing Loss: One of the biggest benefits of using an OAE machine is that it can detect hearing loss in newborns early on. This is important because early detection and intervention can help prevent long-term speech, language, and cognitive delays.
- Quick and Non-Invasive Screening: OAE screening is a quick and non-invasive process that can be done right in the hospital room. It typically takes only a few minutes, and does not cause any discomfort to the baby.
- Cost-Effective: Compared to other methods of hearing screening, such as auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing, OAE screening is relatively inexpensive. This makes it a more accessible option for hospitals and healthcare providers.
- Objective Results: OAE screening produces objective results that are not influenced by the subjective opinions or biases of the tester. This helps ensure accurate and reliable results.
- Easy to Interpret Results: OAE screening produces a simple pass/fail result that is easy to interpret. This allows healthcare providers to quickly identify babies who may be at risk for hearing loss and provide appropriate follow-up care.
The otoacoustic emission machine is a valuable tool for screening newborns for hearing loss. Early detection and intervention are crucial in preventing long-term speech, language, and cognitive delays. OAE screening is quick, non-invasive, cost-effective, and produces objective, easy-to-interpret results. If you are a new parent, talk to your healthcare provider about scheduling a hearing screening for your newborn with an OAE machine.