Genetic Implications of Gender Differences in the Prevalence of Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emissions Spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs), which occur in about 40% of normal-hearing humans, do not have a firm explanation in auditory theory nor are their distributional properties well understood. To enhance our understanding of SOAEs, we have pooled data from three reports (Hammel, 1983; Strickland, Burns, & Tubis, 1985; Zurek, 1981) ... Tutorial
Tutorial  |   September 01, 1990
Genetic Implications of Gender Differences in the Prevalence of Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emissions
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robert C. Bilger
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Melanie L. Matthies
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Diane R. Hammel
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Marilyn E. Demorest
    University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert Bilger, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Speech and Hearing Science, 901 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820.
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Tutorial
Tutorial   |   September 01, 1990
Genetic Implications of Gender Differences in the Prevalence of Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emissions
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1990, Vol. 33, 418-432. doi:10.1044/jshr.3303.418
History: Received September 26, 1988 , Accepted February 9, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1990, Vol. 33, 418-432. doi:10.1044/jshr.3303.418
History: Received September 26, 1988; Accepted February 9, 1990

Spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs), which occur in about 40% of normal-hearing humans, do not have a firm explanation in auditory theory nor are their distributional properties well understood. To enhance our understanding of SOAEs, we have pooled data from three reports (Hammel, 1983; Strickland, Burns, & Tubis, 1985; Zurek, 1981) to assemble a large enough sample to assess the relevant hypotheses about the effects of ear and gender on their presence. The results, based on loglinear analyses of the pooled sample of 131 normal-hearing subjects, indicated that (a) the prevalence of SOAEs for female subjects [P(S|F)=.533] was significantly higher than that for male subjects [P (S|M)=.268]; (b) the percentage of right ears with SOAEs (36.6%) was significantly greater than that of left ears (25.2%); and (c) right and left ears were not independent with respect to the presence of SOAEs. These results can be explained by assuming that the (a) tendency to exhibit emissions is inherited, perhaps as a sex-linked trait and (b) ears are asymmetric with respect to the anatomical anomalies of the apical portion of the organ of Corti that may precipitate SOAEs.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This work was supported by a grant (DC 00174) from the National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders. The authors wish to express their appreciation to Scott K. Griffiths for his critical reading of the section on auditory physiology, Ted A. Meyer for tutoring us in genetics, Ann F. Russell for translating Dallmayr (1985), and Mead C. Killion for educating us on the instrumental aspects of measuring SOAEs at −27 dB SPL.
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