While the audiogram is a widely used diagnostic tool, it is a poor representation of a person’s underlying otopathology and can therefore be a poor predictor of a person’s hearing impairment. For example, persons with audiometric thresholds within normal limits may experience hearing impairment such as difficulty hearing in noise. Cochlear synaptopathy and outer hair cell dysfunction are two otopathologies undetected by the standard audiogram (a.k.a. Hidden Hearing Loss), but outer hair cell function plays a primary role in hearing in noise performance. A third undetected otopathology is cochlear untuning, which occurs secondary to outer hair cell damage. This talk will discuss each of these otopathologies and present clinical normative data that can be used to differentially diagnose each otopathology.
After participating in this session, attendees will be able to:
1. Identify three forms of otopathologies from an audiogram
2. Distinguish between cochlear synaptopathy, outer hair cell dysfunction, and cochlear untuning
3. Discuss the correlations between outer hair cell function, hearing in noise performance, and audiometric thresholds