January - February 2015

  First of all our best wishes for a fulfilling and "clinically creative" 2015 !!  There is a reason why I have highlighted the term "clinically" since the next few months our focus will be dedicated to updates in the area of OAE Hardware.

There are several patterns emerging from the available OAE hardware as of today.

(i) Screening applications have totally overshadowed OAE research and the majority of devices offer OAE tests in moderate frequency ranges rarely exceeding 6.0 kHz. Only a handful of devices offer DPOAE testing up-to 12 kHz. This is not a surprise since the area of "clinical OAE applications" has reached a plateau for at least 10 years. Innovations arrive only in the area of OAE signal processing (new theoretical approaches to OAE spectral estimation) which contribute lightly to emerging clinical applications.

(ii) The majority of platforms / devices offer a combination of AOAE & AABR testing to address issues of Auditory Neuropathy. A number of portable devices goes even further incorporating standard and high frequency immitance testing. Thus a portable device can address the screening requirements of both neonatal and children populations.

In the past we have wondered what the future holds for OAEs technologies.  As time passes the answer seems to be that of a total integration. OAE technologies will be closely integrated with other audiological protocols to address "hearing impairment" by more efficient and less time-consuming means.  I am referring to a unification of modular technologies (AOAEs, AABR, AASSR, hearing aid testing, Cochlear Implant testing and calibration etc)  under a single container (operating system).

This speculation is based on the fact that the major players in the OAE/ ABR industry are few and that most technical innovations usually part from the European manufacturers (Madsen, Interacoustics. Otodynamics) . To note that the major players represent also the major hearing aid companies  and it will take little to pass to the next step that is a consortium between them and the 4 major Cochlear Implant firms.

Of course this position is open to discussion .. so let us know what you think .. or my contacting us or even better by posting something in the OAE Forum .


NOTE : After the period dedicated to hardware  we will pass to the area of OAE software .. which unfortunately till today .. is kind of inadequate.