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Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emission Research Paper

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Recent studies made by scientists have been done on audiology whereby their major interest is to study the cochlea active mechanisms. To date, there are some arguments that gender has some effect on the auditory system including the spontaneous Otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs). Spontaneous Otoacoustic emissions are narrow and signals recorded in the absence of an external acoustic stimulus. They originate from the outer hair cell at the cochlear place leading to low frequency. According to William and Wilkins (1996), some spontaneous Otoacoustic emission may be caused by reversible disturbances of active transduction mechanisms, and that not all SOAEs are heritable. The objective of this research is therefore to find out the effects of gender on spontaneous Otoacoustic emission.

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Transient evoked Otoacoustic emission levels are large in females as compared to males. This is because of the fact hearing sensitivity is stronger in females than in males. (Kannan et al, 1974). Gender differences in the spontaneous Otoacoustic emission normally emerge during the early ages when the groups are still young or undergoing development. The spontaneous Otoacoustic emission at times is found in the absence of acoustic stimulation which has some impact on the transient evoked Otoacoustic emission. Hormones involved in prenatal masculinization might be the source of an observed sex difference, namely that females tended to have more and stronger spontaneous Otoacoustic emissions. (Mc Fadden & Pasanen, 1996). Generally, Spontaneous otoacoustic emissions are weak sounds emitted by the inner ear that occur spontaneously or may be evoked by a click stimulus. The individuals in most cases are not aware of the sounds that may be detected by a sensitive microphone placed in the ear canal. To add or support the reason why hormones involved in prenatal masculinization might be the source of the observed sex differences. The findings that were carried by Mayer- Bahlbury et al (1998) show that variations in sexual orientation may reflect variation in prenatal masculinizations. The other study which was carried (Mc Fadden & Chaplin 2000) with samples of heterosexual and homosexual/bisexual females and males, it was found out that sex differences in auditory evoked responses were analogous to those found for the SOAEs implying that females have stronger responses-shorter latencies and greater amplitude as compared to males.

The other reason that may explain the differences in the effect of spontaneous Otoacoustic emission on gender is some differences between the groups. The differences may come as a result of physical and psychological characteristics among the sexes. For example, a departure from heterosexuality may involve multiple physiological mechanisms and may show basic differences for males and females bringing different effects (Mc Fadden, 2002). Homosexual males, like homosexual females, are shifted towards the opposite sex after several measures (Bailey & Zucker, 1995, Lippa, 2002) according to the past studies. However according to some of the most recent studies (Bogaert & Hershberger, 1999) have found that homosexual males are likely to be hyper-masculinized on some measures including the penis size, handedness (Halumiere et al,2000), and certain AEPs (Mc Fadden & Champlin, 2000). Among males, homosexuality may be accompanied by several differences from heterosexuals, most often in the direction of hypomasculinization but in other cases in the direction of hypermasculinization. These differences are brought if differences in brain structures and mechanisms are affected differently because of localized differences in concentration of androgens. The differences may also occur when localized hypersensitivities occur in androgen receptors in certain cells at different times in development.

Males are more likely to emit fewer and weaker SOAEs than females. This is to support the findings that had been sustained by Mc Fadden & Champlin (2000) that homosexuality is taken as a form of hypomasculinization in males and hypermasculinization in females and one would expect more OAEs and stronger AEPs in male homosexuality than in male heterosexuals. Fewer OAEs and weaker AEPs on the other hand will be experienced in female homosexuals than in female heterosexuals. (Mc Fadden & Pasanen, 1999).

This research paper therefore will be restricted to a group of six people of which three will be female and the other three will be males. This will ensure that the results will be accurate and the study not biased according to gender. To ensure that the stated objective is achieved successfully, a hypothesis has been developed to help in achieving the objective. The hypothesis developed is, spontaneous Otoacoustic emission (SOAE) is more prevalent in females as compared to males. This hypothesis was developed from the fact that female subjects tend to have larger emissions when elicited with lower frequency stimuli.


Different tools such as custom equipment will be used to detect and explore the effect of gender on Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions (DPOAEs) at higher frequencies. The three females and three males will be expected to participate in the study whereby DPOAEs will be measured in them with normal behavioral thresholds, middle ear function, and present acoustic reflexes at 1KHZ with contralateral stimulation. The behavioral threshold will be measured through 16 kHz.

ILO292/EHOPORT PLUS- Otodynamics Analyzer which allows for recording of transient evoked Otoacoustic emission (TEOAE) in the gender will be used. Portable computer KDs, with Pentium 111 processor and colored monitor in which is installed the ILO 292 version of 5.61 will also be carried.

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This study first of all should be approved by the HU-USP ethics committee who should give the go-ahead in official writing. Data analysis will then follow to verify the findings obtained from the study. It is important to repeat the study as many times as possible to ensure that the results obtained are accurate. Analysis of variance especially the multivariate variance (MANOVA) will be done and adjusted to the TEOAE level and the duration of the examination.

Effects of Gender, time of day on Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emission

Quite a several sexual differences have been reported in the human auditory system. Most females as a group have greater hearing sensitivity as well as greater susceptibility to noise exposure at high frequencies. Again females tend to have shorter latencies in their auditory brain-stem responses, more spontaneous emission (SOAEs), and stronger click-evoked Otoacoustic emissions than males as a group (Russell, 1992). However, males are better at sound localization detecting binaural seats, and detecting signals in complex masking tasks than females (Symons, 1979). All these differences normally happen during the first half of the menstrual cycle where several aspects of female hearing move in the male direction (Zucker & Bradley, 1995). The sex differences normally present in SOAs are absent in females from opposite-sex twin pairs. The reason to support this is that their auditory systems have been masculinized prenatally by exposure to high levels of androgens produced by their male co-twins analogous to an effect well established in other mammals. This also indicates that some of the sex differences in hearing are brought by differences in exposure to hormones. Therefore hormones have got some effects on the human auditory system.


It should be noted that the sex differences in the spontaneous Otoacoustic emission are brought by exposure to hormones that are the androgen hormone and psychological differences among the individuals. The human auditory systems thus exhibit several sex differences which are generally small and their origin and evolutionary significance are still unknown. However, as discussed earlier the prenatal hormones contribute a lot to some of the auditory sex differences. It can be therefore said that auditory sex differences tend to have the potential to bring some discussions on other sex differences plus other topics.


Bailey, J. M. & Benishay, D S (1995) Familial aggregation of female sexual orientation. American Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 272-277.

Bogaert, A. F, & Hershberger, S. (1999). The relation between sexual orientation and penile size. Archives of sexual Behaviour, 128, 213-221

Dunkleg, KY and Dreisbach, L.E (2004). Gender effects on High frequency Distortion product Otoacoustic emissions in Human. Ear and Healing research. 25(6): 554-564.

Lippa, R. A (2002). Gender, nature, and nurture. Proceedings of the National Academy of sciences. USA 190, 11900-11904.

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Mc Fadden, D. (2000). Masculinizing effects on Otoacoustic emission and auditory evoked potentials in women using oral contraceptives. Hearing Research, 142, 22-23.

Mc Fadden. D. (2002). Masculinizing effects in the auditory system. Archives of sexual Behavior, 33, 99-111.

Mc Fadden, D & Champlin, C. A (2000). Comparison of auditory evoked potentials in heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual males and females. Journal of Association for research in Otolaryngology, 1, 88-99.

Mc Fadden, D, Lueblin, J.C. & Pasanen, E. G. (1996). Additional findings on heritability and prenatal masculinization of cochlear mechanisms. Clicked evoked Otoacoustic emission. Hearing Research, 97, 107-119.

Mc Fadden, D & Pasanen, E.G (1998). Comparison of the auditory systems of heterosexual, and homosexual: Click-evoked Otoacoustic. Proceedings of the National Academy of sciences USA, 95, 2709-2713.

Mc Fadden D. (1998). Sex Differences in the auditory system. Developmental Neuropsychological, 14 (213) 1998: 261.

Mc Fadden, D, & Pasanen, E.G (1998). Spontaneous Otoacoustic emission in heterosexuals, and bisexuals. Journal of the Acoustic society of America, 105g.2403-2413.

Rahman, Q. & Wilson, GD (in press). Burn gay? The psychobiology of human sexual orientation personality and individual differences.

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Russell, A.F. (1992). Heritability of spontaneous Otoacoustic emissions (Doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois at Urban- Champaign). Dissertation Abstracts International 153 (10), 5136b.

Symons, D (1979). The evolution of human sexuality. New York: Oxford University press.

Whitehead, ML, Karmal, N & Lonsbury-Martin, BL (1993). Spontaneous Otoacoustic emissions in different racial groups. Scandinavian Audiology, 23, -3-10.

Williams, C & Wilkins (1996). The emergence and Disappearance of one subject’s spontaneous Otoacoustic emissions, Earing and Hearing Research, 17 (2): 116-119.

Zucker, K.S. & Bradley, S.S (1995). Gender Identity disorder and psychosexual problems in Children and adolescents, New York: Guilford.

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