Evaluation of an automated auditory brainstem response in a multi-stage infant hearing screening

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2010 Aug;267(8):1199-205. doi: 10.1007/s00405-010-1209-z. Epub 2010 Feb 11.


An automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) method, the Maico MB-11 with BERAphone, has been developed for hearing screening in newborns. The aim of this study was to test the validity of this automated ABR screening method in a multistage newborn hearing screening (NHS). We applied a "five level" protocol using transient evoked otoacoustic emission (TEOAE), AABR-MB-11 with BERAphone and conventional auditory brainstem response (ABR). TEOAE, AABR, and conventional ABR testing were performed by ENT specialists experienced in neonatal screening techniques. Among the 8,671 newborns tested (males 3,889; females 4,782), only 42 newborns were lost to follow-up and the final false-positive rate was of 0.03%. Our experience highlights that for the neonatal period, conventional auditory brainstem response is the most reliable method for assessing the hearing level and minimizing the false-positive rate. Although AABR (performed by ENT specialists experienced in neonatal screening techniques) is easy to use, fast and with a good compliance, the device is unable to provide accurate and certain diagnosis on the degree of hearing loss to allow a proper treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Audiometry, Evoked Response / instrumentation*
  • Brain Stem / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening*
  • Otoacoustic Emissions, Spontaneous
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*