Auditory Evoked Response Test Strategies to Reduce Cost and Increase Efficiency: The Postauricular Muscle Response Revisited

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We describe a number of techniques in auditory evoked response (AER) testing for hearing loss which should decrease its cost and increase its efficiency, making its use in infant hearing screening more viable. We demonstrate the use of bit-stream averaging of the electrical signals from the head as a cheap alternative to analogue averaging and show that the average waveforms obtained are similar with both techniques. We demonstrate how the postauricular muscle response (PAMR) can be potentiated by lateral rotation of the eyes and argue that uncontrolled eye movements in previous studies have led to an unfounded belief that the PAMR is not stable. When eye rotation is used to potentiate the PAMR, the response becomes very stable and so large in most subjects that it is clearly visible in the raw traces. We also demonstrate that when the PAMR is potentiated by eye rotation, stable PAMR waveforms can be reliably obtained with tone bursts with frequencies up to and above 8 kHz and with sound levels within 30 dB of the subjective detection threshold. As a result the PAMR can be used to rapidly determine an objective audiogram in most subjects within minutes. Finally, we demonstrate a correlation technique for detecting the PAMR without waveform averaging and the need for an expensive computer. We are sure that a combination of these techniques can be used to increase the efficiency of AER screening for infant deafness and lower its cost dramatically.Copyright © 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel

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