Wideband aural acoustic absorbance predicts conductive hearing loss in children

Douglas H. Keefe, Chris A. Sanford, John C. Ellison, Denis F. Fitzpatrick, Michael P. Gorga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Objective: This study tested the hypothesis that wideband aural absorbance predicts conductive hearing loss (CHL) in children medically classified as having otitis media with effusion. Design: Absorbance was measured in the ear canal over frequencies from 0.25 to 8 kHz at ambient pressure or as a swept tympanogram. CHL was defined using criterion air-bone gaps of 20, 25, and 30 dB at octaves from 0.25 to 4 kHz. A likelihood-ratio predictor of CHL was constructed across frequency for ambient absorbance, and across frequency and pressure for absorbance tympanometry. Performance was evaluated at individual frequencies and for any frequency at which a CHL was present. Study sample: Absorbance and conventional 0.226-kHz tympanograms were measured in children of age three to eight years with CHL and with normal hearing. Results: Absorbance was smaller at frequencies above 0.7 kHz in the CHL group than the control group. Based on the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, wideband absorbance in ambient and tympanometric tests were significantly better predictors of CHL than tympanometric width, the best 0.226-kHz predictor. Accuracies of ambient and tympanometric wideband absorbance did not differ. Conclusions: Absorbance accurately predicted CHL in children and was more accurate than conventional 0.226-kHz tympanometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)880-891
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Otitis media
  • Tympanometry
  • Wideband aural acoustic absorbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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