U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Date of this Version


Document Type



J Am Acad Audiol 28:838–860 (2017)


This document is a U.S. government work and is not subject to copyright in the United States.

DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.16172


Background: Otosclerosis is a progressive middle-ear disease that affects conductive transmission through the middle ear. Ear-canal acoustic tests may be useful in the diagnosis of conductive disorders. This study addressed the degree to which results from a battery of ear-canal tests, which include wideband reflectance, acoustic stapedius muscle reflex threshold (ASRT), and transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs), were effective in quantifying a risk of otosclerosis and in evaluating middle-ear function in ears after surgical intervention for otosclerosis.

Purpose: To evaluate the ability of the test battery to classify ears as normal or otosclerotic, measure the accuracy of reflectance in classifying ears as normal or otosclerotic, and evaluate the similarity of responses in normal ears compared with ears after surgical intervention for otosclerosis.

Research Design: A quasi-experimental cross-sectional study incorporating case control was used. Three groups were studied: one diagnosed with otosclerosis before corrective surgery, a group that received corrective surgery for otosclerosis, and a control group.

Study Sample: The test groups included 23 ears (13 right and 10 left) with normal hearing from 16 participants (4 male and 12 female), 12 ears (7 right and 5 left) diagnosed with otosclerosis from 9 participants (3 male and 6 female), and 13 ears (4 right and 9 left) after surgical intervention from 10 participants (2 male and 8 female).

Data Collection and Analysis: Participants received audiometric evaluations and clinical immittance testing. Experimental tests performed included ASRT tests with wideband reference signal (0.25–8 kHz), reflectance tests (0.25–8 kHz), which were parameterized by absorbance and group delay at ambient pressure and at swept tympanometric pressures, and TEOAE tests using chirp stimuli (1–8 kHz). ASRTs were measured in ipsilateral and contralateral conditions using tonal and broadband noise activators. Experimental ASRT tests were based on the difference in wideband-absorbed sound power before and after presenting the activator. Diagnostic accuracy to classify ears as otosclerotic or normal was quantified by the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) for univariate and multivariate reflectance tests. The multivariate predictor used a small number of input reflectance variables, each having a large AUC, in a principal components analysis to create independent variables and followed by a logistic regression procedure to classify the test ears.

Results:Relative to the results in normal ears, diagnosed otosclerosis earsmore frequently showed absent TEOAEs and ASRTs, reduced ambient absorbance at 4 kHz, and a different pattern of tympanometric absorbance and group delay (absorbance increased at 2.8 kHz at the positive-pressure tail and decreased at 0.7–1 kHz at the peak pressure, whereas group delay decreased at positive and negative-pressure tails from 0.35–0.7 kHz, and at 2.8–4 kHz at positive-pressure tail). Using a multivariate predictor with three reflectance variables, tympanometric reflectance (AUC 5 0.95) was more accurate than ambient reflectance (AUC 5 0.88) in classifying ears as normal or otosclerotic.

Conclusions: Reflectance provides a middle-ear test that is sensitive to classifying ears as otosclerotic or normal, which may be useful in clinical applications.