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J Audiol Otol. 2018 Jan;22(1):20-27. English. Original Article.
Wali HA , Mazlan R .
Audiology Programme, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Department of Audiology, Ohud Hospital, Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

Background and Objectives

Although ethnicity effect on wideband absorbance (WBA) findings was evident for adults, its effect on neonates has not been established yet. This study aimed to investigate the influence of ethnicity on WBA measured at 0 daPa from neonates with healthy middle ear functions.

Subjects and Methods

Participants were 99 normal, healthy, full-term newborn babies with chronological age between 11 and 128 hours of age (mean=46.73, standard deviation=26.36). A cross-sectional study design was used to measure WBA at 16 one-third octave frequency points from 99 neonates comprising of three ethnic groups: Malays (n=58), Chinese (n=13) and Indians (n=28). A total of 165 ears (83.3%) that passed a battery of tests involving distortion product otoacoustic emissions, 1 kHz tympanometry and acoustic stapedial reflex were further tested using WBA. Moreover, body size measurements were recorded from each participant.


The Malays and Indians neonates showed almost identical WBA response across the frequency range while the Chinese babies showed lower absorbance values between 1.25 kHz and 5 kHz. However, the differences observed in WBA between the three ethnic groups were not statistically significant (p=0.23). Additionally, there were no statistically significant difference in birth weight, height and head circumference among the three ethnic groups.


This study showed that Malays, Chinese and Indians neonates were not significantly different in their WBA responses. In conclusion, to apply for the ethnic-specific norms is not warranted when testing neonates from population constitute of these three ethnicities.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.