The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of ear asymmetry, order of testing, and gender on transient-evoked otoacoustic emission (TEOAE) pass rates and response levels in newborn hearing screening. The screening results of 879 newborns, of whom 387 (study group) passed screening successfully in only one ear in the first TEOAE screening, but passed screening successfully in both ears thereafter, and 492 (control group) who passed screening successfully in both ears in the first TEOAE, were retrospectively examined for pass rates and TEOAE characteristics. Results indicated a right-ear advantage, as manifested by significantly higher pass rates in the right ear (61% and 39% for right and left ears, respectively) in the study group, and in 1.75 dB greater TEOAE response amplitudes in the control group. The right-ear advantage was enhanced when the first tested ear was the right ear (76%). When the left ear was tested first, pass rates were comparable in both ears. The right-ear advantage in pass rates was similar in females versus males, but manifested in 1.5 dB higher response amplitudes in females compared with males, regardless of the tested ear and order of testing in both study and control groups. The study provides further evidence for the functional lateralization of the auditory system at the cochlear level already apparent soon after birth in both males and females. While order of testing plays a significant role in the asymmetry in pass rates, the innate right-ear advantage seems to be a more dominant contributor.
- ear asymmetry
- newborn hearing screening
- pass rates
- right-ear advantage
- transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions