Initial Otoacoustic Emission Hearing Screening Results in Newborns with Patent Ear Canals, Vernix Caseosa and Collapsed Ear Canals

Maria Rina T. Reyes-Quintos1,2,3 and Ruby P. Robles3

1Philippine National Ear Institute, National Institutes of Health,
University of the Philippines Manila
2Department of Otorhinolaryngology, College of Medicine and
Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila
3Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, The Medical City

Objectives. This study determined the initial otoacoustic (OAE) hearing screening results of newborns with collapsed ear canals and vernix caseosa in the ear canal and compared these to ears that were patent.

Methods. Two hundred term newborns (400 ears) with normal APGAR scores, birth weight, maternal and gestational history, who were born between August 2013 to October 2013 and who had OAE hearing screening test done by trained midwives were included in this study. All of them underwent otoscopy after the OAE hearing screening test was done to determine patency of the ear canal and presence of vernix caseosa. The examining physician was blinded to the OAE results. Comparison between the OAE results and the otoscopic findings were done.

Results. Four hundred ears were included in the study. Two hundred and fifty one ears (62.8%) had vernix caseosa and 42 ears (10.5%) had collapsed ear canal. The overall initial OAE hearing screening test pass rate of the newborns tested was 69.5%. The initial OAE hearing screening test pass rate of newborns those with ear canal vernix caseosa or collapsed ear canal, were 72.1% and 47.6%, respectively. Patent ears were found in 107 (26.7%) with a pass rate of 71.9%.

Conclusion. The pass rates of ears with vernix caseosa and collapsed ear canal were 72.1% and 47.6%, respectively. There was no significant difference between the OAE hearing screening test pass rates of ears with patent canal and ears that were collapsed and/ or had vernix caseosa. However, there was a statistically significant difference in pass rates between patent ear canals and collapsed ear canals – with the patent ear canal more likely to pass the OAE hearing screening test than collapsed canals.

Key Words: otoscopy, otoacoustic emissions, newborns, collapsed ear canal, vernix caseosa