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Electrocochleography (Ecochg)

The electrocochleography test is an objective measure of the electrical potentials generated in the inner ear as a result of sound stimulation. This test is most often used to determine if the inner ear (cochlea) has an excessive amount of fluid pressure. Excessive fluid pressure in the cochlea can cause symptoms such as hearing loss, aural fullness, dizziness, and/or tinnitus. These symptoms are sometimes indicative of certain ear pathologies such as Meniere’s disease or endolymphatic hydrops.

The Ecochg takes up to 40 minutes to complete. A patient undergoing an Ecochg test will have several surface electrodes placed on their head. A tiny microphone and an earphone will then be inserted into the canal of the test ear.

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The patient will be instructed to relax while they listen to a clicking sound. It is very important that the patient be relaxed for this test, since any tension or muscle movement can slow down the averaging process. No response from the patient is required for this test. While the patient is listening to the clicking, the audiologist will measure the Ecochg response with a computer that uses signal filtering and averaging to isolate neural activity from the cochlea.

The audiologist will collect several responses from the ear and will look for the presence of a large waveform which contains two components: the summating potential (SP) and the action potential (AP). Both of these waveform components are direct results of providing sound stimulation to the cochlea. A calculation of the SP/AP ratio is made. An increased SP/AP ratio can indicate excessive fluid pressure in the ear.

After this test is complete, the patient will schedule a follow up appointment to return in two weeks. At the follow up visit, the referring physician will discuss the Ecochg results and other audiological test results with the patient.

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California Ear Institute