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Why Rinne Test Is Positive In Sensorineural Hearing Loss

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The Tuning Fork Tests

Weber and Rinne Test – Clinical Examination

Weber and Rinne tests are reliable and useful tools for assessing hearing loss in older, verbal children. They help distinguish between conductive and sensorineural hearing loss and so are more useful in patients with unilateral hearing difficulty. Children with mixed, or bilateral hearing loss, should be referred to an ENT specialist for a more formal pure tone audiometry assessment. It doesnt matter which test you perform first. These tests should, however, be performed with a full cranial nerve and neurological exam.

Suggestions For Further Reading

  • Huizing EH. The early descriptions of the so-called tuning fork tests of Weber and Rinne. I. The Weber test and its first description by Schmalz. ORL JOtorhinolaryngolRelat Spec 1973 35: 278282. DOI: 10.1159/000275130.

  • Huizing EH. The early descriptions of the so-called tuning-fork tests of Weber, Rinne, Schwabach, and Bing. II. The Rinne Test and its first description by Polansky. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec 1975 37: 8891. DOI: 10.1159/000275210.

  • How Do I Interpret Rinnes Test

    In a normal ear, air conduction is greater than bone conduction, that is to say sound is more efficiently transmitted to the cochlea via air than via bone. So, a patient who hears the tuning fork loudest when it is placed 1cm from the external auditory meatus has a positive Rinnes test and a person who hears loudest when placed over the mastoid process has a negative Rinnes test. The challenge in making these interpretations is in the case of a false positive Rinnes test where there is unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. This is where Webers test is most useful in providing further clues.

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    False Negative Rinnes Test

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    • The difficulty in interpreting Rinnes test is in total unilateral sensorineural hearing loss
    • For example, imagine the right ear is dead. On testing bone conduction on the right the sound travels to the good left ear and sounds louder than when the fork is held next to the external auditory meatus on the side being tested
    • The patient reports that bone conduction is better than air conduction giving a false negative Rinnes test

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    Difference Between Rinne And Weber

    Difference Between Rinne and Weber, if we compare the Rinne test is performed first. They help in determining the difference between sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

    Therefore, these tests guide the doctor in further examination and investigation of the treatment process. These tests can be done in the office, and are easy to perform.

    Rinne Test

    Also called as Rhinne Test by some people, is used in cases of unilateral hearing loss and establishes which ear has the greater bone conduction. It is combined with the patients perceived hearing loss. As a result, it can be determined if the cause is sensorineural or conductive.

    A normal or positive Rinne test is when sound is still heard when the tuning fork is moved to air near the ear , indicating that AC is equal or greater than . Therefore, AC > BC which is how it is reported clinically for a normal or positive Rinne result.

    In the conductive hearing loss, bone conduction is better than air or BC > AC, a negative Rinne, and the patient will report that they do not hear the fork once it is moved.

    This test is conducted by placing a tuning fork on the mastoid bone:

    • Air conduction uses the apparatus of the ear to amplify and direct the sound.
    • Bone conduction allows the vibration sound to be transmitted to the inner ear. There is reduced volume transmitted by the bones of the skull to the other ear.

    Weber Test

    Following table shows a direct difference between Weber & Rinne test

    Limitations Of Rinne And Weber Test

    In some cases of unilateral or total sensorineural hearing loss, the Rinne test is not dependable in distinguishing conductive and sensorineural hearing impairment. These cases result in a false negative, therefore, bone conduction will be more than air conduction.

    In some cases, the Weber test will show signs of lateralization which indicating some kind of pathology guide.

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    How To Do Webers Test

    • To perform Webers test strike the fork against your knee or elbow, then place the base of the fork in the midline, high on the patients forehead
    • It is important to steady the patients head with your other hand so that reasonably firm pressure can be applied
  • Then ask the patient:Do you hear the sound louder in one ear than the other?
  • If so, in which ear is it louder?
  • If the patient is unclear, you may ask if they hear it everywhere. Be careful not to ask the question in a leading manner
  • What Causes Hearing Loss In Both Ears

    Weber vs. Rinne Test & Conductive vs. Sensorineural Hearing Loss

    A bilateral hearing loss can be caused by many factors. The most common causes are: age, noise exposure, heredity and medication, which all mostly lead to a sensorineural hearing loss. You can also have a bilateral hearing loss if both of your earsâ ability to conduct sound into the inner ear are blocked or reduced.

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    Where To Buy Sensorineural And Conductive Hearing Aids

    Here we will discuss Sensorineural And Conductive Hearing Loss. You can purchase the latest hearing aids at a fair price through HearingSol, If you need any assistance or you have a query regarding Sensorineural And Conductive Hearing Loss, feel free to call us at +91-9899437202. We are always here to help you. 1.

    How Is Rinne Test Performed

    Rinne testperformed

    . Besides, how is Rinne’s test performed and what is the significance?

    Rinne and Weber tests are exams that test for hearing loss. They help determine whether you may have conductive or sensorineural hearing loss. This determination allows a doctor to come up with a treatment plan for your hearing changes. A Rinne test evaluates hearing loss by comparing air conduction to bone conduction.

    Similarly, what is Rinne positive? A positive Rinne occurs when air conduction is perceived louder than bone conduction. This is seen in normal listeners or patients with sensorineural hearing loss . Conversely, when a sound is heard louder from the mastoid, this is a negative Rinne test and is indicative of a conductive hearing loss .

    Herein, how is the Weber test performed?

    Weber’s test is performed by striking the tuning fork and placing it against the middle of the forehead. Ask the patient if the tone is equal in both ears. Then place it over the external auditory meatusnormally, the patient will hear the tone again if not, conduction deafness is present.

    What does a tuning fork test for?

    Tuning forks are used as a simple and brief test to establish the probable presence or absence of a significant conductive element to hearing loss. They are typically used to provide early diagnostic information, when audiometry is not available or possible.

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    Interpretation Of Webers Test

    • Webers test will lateralise, i.e. move to one side, with a relatively small amount of hearing loss
    • If a patient has a unilateral conductive hearing loss, the tuning fork sound will be heard louder in the deaf ear
    • If a patient has a unilateral sensorineural hearing loss, the tuning fork sound will be heard louder in the normal ear
    • In bilateral and symmetrical hearing loss of either type Webers test will be normal
    • The various outcomes of Rinne and Weber tests are shown below

    How Rinne Test Is Performed

    The Weber Test

    The first requirement is that it should be performed in a quiet and silent environment

    The other thing to be taken into consideration is the tuning fork used should be of 512 Hz, and other forks should be neglected

    Rinne test measures your Bone Conduction and air conduction time measurements.

  • Before performing the test, make the patient to cover the opposite ear with their hand, then we need to perform vibration of the tuning fork and then place the vibrating fork onto the patients mastoid bone to initiate the process of testing the ear.
  • Finally, Ask the patient to report when the sound can no longer be heard from his test ear
  • After the patient can no longer hear the tuning fork placed on the mastoid bone, move the vibrating tuning fork adjacent to the ear canal. Make sure the folk are oriented in a position perpendicular to the ear.
  • At last, the patient should indicate when they can no longer hear the sound conducted via the air.
  • Now the doctor will compute the results, which is that the air conduction sound should be prolonged at least twice as much in time when conducted via bone .
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    Overview Of Tuning Fork Test

    Overview of Tuning Fork Test is useful in assessing hearing loss. It is used to differentiate between sensorineural or conductive hearing loss. The patient who has over eight years old can go for conductive loss test orasymmetric hearing in the low frequencies. The frequencies range from 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048 Hz.

    Usually, a frequency of less than 254 Hz is not used as is better felt than heard by a patient. Whereas the frequency greater than 1024 Hz is not used as is extremely poor.

    In this test, a larger fork vibrates at the lower frequency. The tuning fork is activated by striking against the examiners elbow, the heel of the hand, and placed 2 cm away from EAC for Air conduction and on mastoid for Bone conduction.

    Conditions for ideal tuning fork test:

    • Professional uses fork made from good alloy.
    • It is good to use a tuning fork which vibrates at a certain frequency.
    • The vibration capacity should be of at least one minute.
    • Those are not used which produce any kind of overtones.

    How Do I Do Webers Test

    • As in Rinnes test, begin by striking the 512 Hz tuning fork against your knee or elbow
    • Then, place the base of the fork in the midline, high on the patients forehead
    • Ask whether they hear the sound in the midline or if the sound lateralises to either the affected or good ear.
    • If the child is unclear, then ask if they hear the sound everywhere be careful not to ask in a leading manner.

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    Differential Diagnosis And Treatment Of Hearing Loss

    JON E. ISAACSON, M.D., and NEIL M. VORA, M.D., Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania

    Am Fam Physician. 2003 Sep 15 68:1125-1132.

    Hearing loss is a common problem that can occur at any age and makes verbal communication difficult. The ear is divided anatomically into three sections , and pathology contributing to hearing loss may strike one or more sections. Hearing loss can be categorized as conductive, sensorineural, or both. Leading causes of conductive hearing loss include cerumen impaction, otitis media, and otosclerosis. Leading causes of sensorineural hearing loss include inherited disorders, noise exposure, and presbycusis. An understanding of the indications for medical management, surgical treatment, and amplification can help the family physician provide more effective care for these patients.

    More than 28 million Americans have some degree of hearing impairment. The differential diagnosis of hearing loss can be simplified by considering the three major categories of loss. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound conduction is impeded through the external ear, the middle ear, or both. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is a problem within the cochlea or the neural pathway to the auditory cortex. Mixed hearing loss is concomitant conductive and sensorineural loss.

    How Do I Interpret Webers

    Weber and Rinne Tuning Fork tests for USMLE

    If a patient has a unilateral sensorineural hearing loss, the sound will lateralise move to the good ear. If a patient has unilateral conductive hearing loss, the tuning fork sound would be heard loudest in the affected ear. Where hearing loss is bilateral and symmetrical of either type, Webers test would be normal.

    The table below summarises the outcomes of Rinnes and Weber tests

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    Deterrence And Patient Education

    Sensorineural hearing loss can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life and ability to carry out daily living activities. It is essential not only for patients to be educated on how to live with the condition but also for their family members to gain insight into the patients’ challenges.

    In the noise-induced hearing loss, the mainstay approach to treatment involves limiting noise exposure, and in cases of industrial exposure, hearing protection is vital. Patients should be actively monitored and have hearing tests periodically to monitor decline. Hearing aids should be used faithfully to allow for a good functional outcome.

    What Does A Positive Or Negative Rinne And Weber Test Mean

    A positive Rinne test means that your ossicular chain bone is functioning correctly. This means the bone is acting as an amplifier of external sound to your ear, and there is nothing to worry about.

    A negative Rinne test means that your bone conductivity is more than the air conductivity, which means it is abnormal, and further investigation via audiometry is required, whereas the weber test does not give a positive or negative output. It is a generalized test that could only tell which of the two ears hears louder, and then the Rinne test gives conformity.

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    How Accurate Are Bedside Hearing Tests

    • Dolores Gonzalez Moron, Veronica Bruno

    We read with interest the article by Boatman et al who conclude that bedside tests for hearing loss have low sensibility and good specificity. We concur with the authors that despite their wide use among neurologists, these tests are not appropriate screening tools. We recently conducted a similar study to determine the accuracy of theRinne and Weber tuning fork tests, using pure-tone audiometry as the standard reference and to establish the diagnostic concordance between thecombined use of them and tonal audiometry.

    We studied 58 subjects administering the Rinne and Weber tests with 128 Hz and 256 Hz tuning forks. Later on the same day, an audiologist carried out a tonal audiometry blinded to the bedside test results. Positive Rinne test and Weber test lateralizing to the same ear indicated conductive hearing loss, whereas a negative Rinne test and a Weber response lateralizing to the contralateral ear indicated a sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing loss was defined when threshold was > 20 db at any frequency in one or both ears.

    The Weber test showed low sensibility and modest specificity . In contrast, the Rinne test had good specificity but only modest sensibility . In both tests, the positive likelihood ratios were lower than 10 and the negative likelihood ratios were lower than 1 . The diagnostic concordance between the findings in bedside tests and tonal audiometry was poor: .


    What Does Conductive Hearing Loss Feel Like

    Adam Rosh on Twitter: " Sound lateralizes to rt ear in a ...

    For example, if you are in a bad car accident and notice youre struggling to hear speech, and feel like your own voice sounds odd to you, you may have conductive hearing loss. Any pain, pressure, or strange odor in your ears are other clues you may have a condition that causes conductive hearing loss.

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    Why Can Rinne Test Be Falsely Negative

    Consider a patient who is suffering from complete deafness in one ear say left ear. He/she goes to a doctor or ENT specialist for a test, then in Rinne test, the doctor moves the tuning fork to his left ear external auditory meatus, as result, the patient will hear no sound in his left ear, but the sound gets transmitted through their skull to the right ear, and they might not be able to distinguish where they hear sound from. As a result, the patient will state that bone conduction is better/louder than air conduction, Which would be interpreted by the doctor as a negative, but in reality, his/her left ear is non-functional.

    Now here the Weber test comes into the role. For instance, it will give the result whether if the left ear hears louder or the right because the tuning folk is put on the middle of the skull and is equidistant from both the ears.

    How Is Weber Test Performed

    These two requirements also imply in the Weber test, which should be performed in a quiet and silent environment, and tuning folk used should be of 512 Hz, other forks should be neglected .

  • Place the vibrating tuning fork on the vertex or the midline of the forehead , The vibrations will be conducted through the skull and reach the cochlea of both the ears.
  • Now Ask the patient which side of the ear heard loudest left, right or is it midline
  • In conclusion, the ear which heard lower sound is to be examined for further test, which is rinne test.
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    Why Is Weber Test Louder In Affected Ear


    For example, if the left ear is completely dead, on testing, the bone conduction on the left, the sound waves travel to the good right ear, and the sounds are louder when the tuning fork is held next to the external auditory meatus on the side being tested .

    Also, why is bone conduction more effective in conductive deafness? In conductive hearing loss, bone conduction is greater than air conduction, because bone conduction bypasses problems in the external or middle ear. In sensorineural hearing loss, air conduction is greater than bone conduction in both ears , however, hearing is decreased in the affected ear.

    In respect to this, why is Weber’s test used to distinguish air conduction deafness from nerve deafness?

    The Weber test is a test of lateralization and is of most value useful in those with an asymmetrical hearing loss. The inner ear is more sensitive to sound via air conduction than bone conduction .

    What is the problem with hearing loss if the tone is heard equally well in both places?

    Ask the patient if the tone is equal in both ears. Diminution in the affected ear indicates sensorineural hearing loss. A louder tone in the affected ear results from conduction deafness .

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