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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 60  |  Page : 253--259

EchoScan: A new system to objectively assess peripheral hearing disorders

1 National Institute of Research and safety (INRS) CS 60027, F-54519 vandoeuvre Cedex, France
2 ENT Department, CHU- Central Hospital, Nancy, France
3 ENT Department, CHU- Central Hospital, Nancy; INSERM U954, Lorraine University School of Medecine, F-Nancy, France

Correspondence Address:
Pierre Campo
National Institute of Research and Safety (INRS), CS60027, 54519 Vandoeuvre Cédex
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.102964

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Pure-tone air-conduction audiometry (PTA) is the reference clinical test used in Europe and the United States to measure the extent of hearing loss. It is a subjective, behavioral test, which measures thresholds of hearing sensations and perceptions based on patient responses to frequency-specific pure-tone stimuli. PTA can detect hearing problems due to cochlear or retro-cochlear impairment, without identifying the source of the problem. In contrast, cubic distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) detect inner-ear dysfunctions, particularly those involving the outer hair cells sensitive to noise and ototoxicants. Recently, ototoxicants were shown to have an action on the central nuclei driving the middle-ear acoustic reflex. Therefore, a new device, called EchoScan, was conceived to collect and measure performance both in the middle- and inner-ear. Its originality: the use of a battery of DPOAE measurements associated with contra-lateral acoustic stimulation. Changes in DPOAE amplitude due to ageing and gender were incidentally detected and EchoScan was more sensitive than impedancemetry to detect the stapedial reflex. EchoScan can be used both in clinical investigations and in occupational medicine, especially for the auditory follow-up of people exposed to noise or ototoxic agents. EchoScan could be promising to assess early detection in programs to prevent hearing loss.


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