Changes in otoacoustic emissions and high-frequency hearing thresholds in children and adolescents.Hear Res. 2006 Feb; 212(1-2):90-8.HR
With the aim of characterizing the loss of high frequency hearing sensitivity in children, hearing thresholds and otoacoustic emissions were measured in a group of 126 normal hearing children and adolescents aged from 6 to 25 years. The subjects were divided into four 5-year age groups. Hearing thresholds over a range of 125 Hz-12.5 kHz were similar in all age groups, the average hearing threshold at 16 kHz was significantly elevated in the oldest age group. The response values of transiently evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) significantly declined with age; the decline was negatively correlated with the hearing loss at 16 kHz. Significantly larger TEOAE responses and average distortion-product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) values at 6.3 kHz were present in the youngest group in comparison with the other three older groups. Spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs) were present in 70.8% of the children (in either one or both ears) with the greatest prevalence in the 11-20-year-old subjects. In the 21-25-year-old group, the hearing loss at 16 kHz was significantly smaller in ears with SOAEs than in ears without SOAEs. The results demonstrate that the increase in the high frequency hearing threshold at 16 kHz, which starts at ages over 20 years, is correlated with a decrease in the TEOAE responses at middle frequencies.