J Am Acad Audiol 2011; 22(05): 253-264
DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.22.5.2
American Academy of Audiology. All rights reserved. (2011) American Academy of Audiology

Relationships among Standard and Wideband Measures of Middle Ear Function and Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions

Kim S. Schairer
Brooke Morrison
Ellyn Szewczyk
Cynthia G. Fowler
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Publication History

Publication Date:
06 August 2020 (online)

Background: The overall goal of the current study was to examine the relationships among uncompensated admittance (Ya) at ambient pressure extracted from tympanograms, energy reflectance (ER) measures at ambient pressure from wideband acoustic transfer functions (WATF), and distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs). If WATF measures of Ya are comparable to tympanometric measures of Ya at ambient pressure, it would be further evidence that the two systems provide comparable information at ambient pressure. Such a relationship could be used as a cross-check or validation for WATF measures and support the use of WATFs in lieu of tympanograms in some applications. Finally, if WATF measures of Ya and/or ER at DPOAE stimulus frequencies can account for some of the variability observed in DPOAE levels and/or signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) in ears with normal hearing, the relationships could be used to improve hearing screening procedures.

Purpose: The hypotheses were as follows: (1) measures of Ya at ambient pressure are significantly correlated as measured with tympanometric and WATF procedures and (2) measures of Ya and ER at DPOAE stimulus frequencies are significantly correlated with DPOAE level and SNR.

Research Design: Repeated measures in human adults.

Study Sample: Forty ears of 20 adults with normal hearing and middle ear function were included in the final sample.

Data Collection and Analysis: Tympanograms were obtained using probe frequencies of 226, 678, and 1000 Hz; WATFs were obtained using a click probe, and DPOAEs were elicited with f2's of 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz. A repeated measures analysis of variance (RM-ANOVA) was completed to identify significant differences between ears and among probe frequencies for Ya measured at ambient pressure from the Tympstar and for Ya measured at the three closest frequencies on the WATFs. Lines were fit to the comparison of Ya from the Tympstar and WATF, and percent variance accounted for (r2) was calculated. Ya and ER were extracted at all stimulus frequencies that were used to elicit DPOAEs and were compared to DPOAE levels and SNRs. RM-ANOVAs were completed to identify any significant differences in DPOAE level and SNR between ears and among f2 conditions. Lines were fit to the comparison of Ya and ER measures at f1 and f2 with the DPOAE levels and SNRs. The relationship between behavioral air conduction threshold at each f2 and DPOAE level (and SNR) was examined with regression analysis.

Results: Ya was significantly correlated between the tympanometric and WATF measures at all three probe-tone frequencies. Ya and ER at f1 and f2 were significantly correlated with DPOAE level for f2 = 4000 Hz.

Conclusions: The implications are as follows: (1) WATFs, which can be obtained with the same probe microphone system as DPOAEs, could be used as a supplement to tympanometry in a diagnostic test battery, and the relationship between Ya measured on the two systems could be used for verification, and (2) Ya and ER measures from WATFs at both DPOAE stimulus frequencies account for some of the variability observed in DPOAE levels at f2 = 4000 Hz in normal ears.