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Ualace De P. Campos, Seisse G. Sanches, Stavros Hatzopoulos, Renata M. M. Carvallo, Krzysztof Kochanek, Henryk Skarżynski
Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(4): MT27-31
Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of sub-clinical alterations on the amplitudes and slopes of the DPOAE input-output responses from subjects with previous history of middle ear dysfunction.
Material/Methods: The study included 15 subjects with and 15 subjects without a history of otitis media in the last 10 years. All participants were assessed with acoustic immittance, pure-tone audiometry, and DPOAEs. For the later, I/O functions and I/O slopes were estimated at 1501, 2002, 3174, 4004 and 6384Hz.
Results: No statistically significant differences were found between the 2 groups in terms of behavioral thresholds. The group with a previous history of middle ear dysfunction presented significantly lower mean DPOAE amplitudes at 2002, 3174 and 4004 Hz. In terms of DPOAE slopes, no statistically significant differences were observed at the tested frequencies, except at 3174 Hz.
Conclusions: Middle ear pathologies can produce subclinical alterations that are undetectable with traditional pure-tone audiometry. The data from the present study show that reduced amplitude DPOAEs are associated with a previous history of middle ear complications. The corresponding DPOAE slopes were affected at only 1 tested frequency, suggesting that the cochlear non-linearity is preserved. Considering these results, it remains to be elucidated to what degree the DPOAE amplitude attenuation interferes with higher-order auditory tasks.