Acoustic Reflectometry versus Tympanometry in Pediatric Middle Ear Screenings The acoustic reflectometer, a diagnostic tool for detecting middle ear effusion, allows for noninvasive testing that is not affected by cerumen, crying, or client cooperation. This study assessed the predictive accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of acoustic reflectometry versus tympanometry in the middle ear screenings for 357 children. Results were analyzed ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 1989
Acoustic Reflectometry versus Tympanometry in Pediatric Middle Ear Screenings
 
Author Notes
  • Alice E. Holmes and Katherine C. Jones Muir are in the Department of Speech, 335 Dauer Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. Requests for reprints may be sent to Dr. Holmes at this address. F. Joseph Kemker is in the Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Florida.
    Alice E. Holmes and Katherine C. Jones Muir are in the Department of Speech, 335 Dauer Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. Requests for reprints may be sent to Dr. Holmes at this address. F. Joseph Kemker is in the Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Florida.×
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 1989
Acoustic Reflectometry versus Tympanometry in Pediatric Middle Ear Screenings
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 1989, Vol. 20, 41-49. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2001.41
History: Received March 7, 1988 , Accepted June 20, 1988
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 1989, Vol. 20, 41-49. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2001.41
History: Received March 7, 1988; Accepted June 20, 1988

The acoustic reflectometer, a diagnostic tool for detecting middle ear effusion, allows for noninvasive testing that is not affected by cerumen, crying, or client cooperation. This study assessed the predictive accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of acoustic reflectometry versus tympanometry in the middle ear screenings for 357 children. Results were analyzed according to sex, age, and sensorineural hearing status. Intratest reliability was highly significant and the device was easily used with difficult-to-test clients. While positive predictive accuracy and specificity rates were excellent , sensitivity rates were extremely poor. It was concluded that the acoustic reflectometer is a poor screening device for standard hearing screenings. The lower prevalence of middle ear effusion found in the normal population greatly affected the device's sensitivity or ability to detect diseased ears. The percentage of ears with middle ear effusion that would go undetected undermines the tool's utility for standard school hearing screenings.

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