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Probes and Tips - March 2010 - Informing Health Care Providers About OAE Screening

The National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management

This newsletter provides TIPS to enhance your OAE screening and follow-up practices and PROBES about current activities so we can learn from one another's successes and challenges. Check out our website for more helpful resources:

March, 2010 issue

Tip of the Month

Inform Health Care Providers About OAE Screening

The following is a story from a home visitor in a home base program that is conducting Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) hearing screening:

I did the first hearing screen on the child and both ears said “refer.”  A few weeks later another hearing screen was done and they both said “refer” again.  At this point I talked with Mom about her talking with her doctor about this.  She took her child in to her doctor (I think the very next week or shortly after); they said her hearing was fine.  The parent wanted a second opinion, so she got a referral to an ears, nose, & throat doctor and made an appointment with them.  In the mean time, before the ENT appointment, the child woke up one day with half of her face unable to move.  The parent immediately took her into the doctor where they realized she had developed a case of Bell's Palsy.  The family then went to the city and after a few tests and things, they found pus behind her ears (which is probably why the child did not pass our hearing screen).  Since then, the child’s Bell's Palsy has improved and they have had many follow up appointments where they have kept a close watch on her progress.

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Since implementing Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) hearing screening, this program has been able to educate parents on possible hearing loss and empower them to take the next steps when it is necessary. Another important action that programs can take is to better educate health care providers about OAE screening. Many health care providers were trained before OAE screening was available. Even those who were trained recently may have little exposure to how sensitive and reliable the technology is when used correctly. It can therefore be worthwhile to use the resources below to inform health care providers about what OAE screening is and to remind them of the protocol when an individual child is referred.
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