Otoacoustic emissions, or OAE tests as they are popularly referred to, are conducted to check cochlear status.
A probe is inserted into the ear canal with the aim of getting a seal. The tip of the probe is flexible and soft, so therefore it is painless. The probe used will vary for adults and neonates.
A well-functioning cochlea not only receives sound, but also emits sounds of low-intensity. These sounds are called otoacoustic emissions (OAEs), and this is what the test aims to capture. The cochlea produces these sounds, along with its outer hair cells, as they respond to the sound stimulus by expanding and contracting.