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Probes and Tips - Monitoring the Quality of your OAE Screening Program

the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Mangement

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, 2009 issue

Tip of the Month 

Monitoring the Quality of Your OAE Screening Activities

In evaluating the quality of your OAE hearing screening and follow-up practices, it can be very helpful to monitor:
  • screener skills and techniques
  • pass rates
  • adherence with the screening and follow-up protocol
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Screener skills can be monitored using the OAE Screening Skills Acquisition Checklist.  Use it to evaluate your own skills,  or have a peer screener, supervisor or a consulting audiologist observe your screening techniques.  Find this checklist at

Pass rate monitoring is another helpful way to evaluate your screening activities. With good screening techniques, approximately 75% of the children should pass during the first OAE screening session.  If you find that over 25% of the children don't pass the first OAE (refer or can't test) seek technical assistance to improve screening skills.  

Adherence with the screening and follow-up protocol can be evaluated by looking at whether follow-up screening and assessment activities are being completed in the recommended order and timeframe. The more closely you comply with the sequence and timing of the protocol, the more effective you will be in identifying children with hearing health needs.  Children who do not pass the second OAE (generally, about 8% of the total number of children screened) need to receive a middle ear consultation and an OAE rescreen.  Children who do not pass the OAE rescreen (generally less than 1%) need an audiological evaluation as soon as possible.  If children are not receiving these services in a timely way, you may need assistance in improving your tracking and follow-up system or in troubleshooting other aspects of your program that may be barriers to appropriate follow-up.   

Probe of the Month

How successful have you been in monitoring the quality of your OAE screening in the following ways:
Space Cell very successfulsomewhat successfulsomewhat unsuccessfulvery unsuccessfulhave not tried
Monitoring screening skills
Monitoring pass/refer rates
Monitoring adherence with the protocol
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