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December, 2010                                                          Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Initiative
           Coming soon!  January 11 Webinar!  See below for details.
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"Hears" How to Know When a Child's OAE Screening is Complete
Here is a simple rule to use in determining when the Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) hearing screening process has been completed or when further follow-up is needed for a child.  The OAE screening process can be considered complete when:

  • A child "Passes" the OAE screening on EACH EAR at some point during an annual periodic screening,


  • A pediatric audiologist has completed
    a comprehensive evaluation and has determined that a child has a permanent hearing loss, or that hearing is normal
    in both ears.
Until one of these conditions is met, the child is still "in-process" awaiting a follow-up step.

What to expect when completing the OAE Screening process
When using good screening techniques, approximately 75% of young children (ages 0-3) enrolled in early childhood education programs can be expected to pass on both ears during the initial (OAE 1) screening.   For children who "referred" or "could not be tested" on one or both ears, a second screening (OAE 2) should be conducted and if the ear(s) in question "pass" at this point, the child's screening is complete. 

About 8% of the total number of children screened are likely to have an ear or ears that "referred" or "could not be tested" during the OAE 2 screening.  These children will typically be referred to a health care provider for diagnosis/treatment of possible middle ear conditions. 

After clearance from the health care provider, an additional OAE Rescreen should be made on the ear(s)
in question, and if a "pass" is obtained, the child's hearing screening is complete.

Less than 1% of the total children screened will typically have an ear (or ears) that did not pass during any of the previously described screening attempts--these children must be referred to a pediatric audiologist for a comprehensive evaluation. 

Also keep in mind that if a parent or other adult involved in a child's care expresses concerns about hearing or language development, the child should be referred for a comprehensive audiological evaluation regardless of "passing" OAE outcomes, because there are some less common types of hearing loss that OAE screening might not detect.

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The OAE Screening Forms and Tracking Tools provided by the ECHO Initiative reflect the protocol and the conditions under which a child's screening process is complete. 

Are you using these forms and tracking tools?   What other strategies have you used to make sure you were following tracking children who's OAE screening process was still not complete?  Please share your techniques by emailing us here. 

Coming Soon

Hear and Now Mini-Webinar


"When is a Child's Hearing Screening Process Complete"

January 11
3-3:30 EST
(2 CST, 1 MST, 12 PST)

CLICK HERE to Register

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Probes and Tips is a newsletter from the ECHO Initiative that provides monthly TIPS
to enhance early childhood 
hearing screening and follow-up practices
 about current activities so we can learn from one another's successes and challenges.

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