UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Rinne test: does the tuning fork position affect the sound amplitude at the ear? Butskiy, Oleksandr; Ng, Denny; Hodgson, Murray; Nunez, Desmond A

Abstract

Background: Guidelines and text-book descriptions of the Rinne test advise orienting the tuning fork tines in parallel with the longitudinal axis of the external auditory canal (EAC), presumably to maximise the amplitude of the air conducted sound signal at the ear. Whether the orientation of the tuning fork tines affects the amplitude of the sound signal at the ear in clinical practice has not been previously reported. The present study had two goals: determine if (1) there is clinician variability in tuning fork placement when presenting the air-conduction stimulus during the Rinne test; (2) the orientation of the tuning fork tines, parallel versus perpendicular to the EAC, affects the sound amplitude at the ear. Methods To assess the variability in performing the Rinne test, the Canadian Society of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery members were surveyed. The amplitudes of the sound delivered to the tympanic membrane with the activated tuning fork tines held in parallel, and perpendicular to, the longitudinal axis of the EAC were measured using a Knowles Electronics Mannequin for Acoustic Research (KEMAR) with the microphone of a sound level meter inserted in the pinna insert. Results 47.4 and 44.8 % of 116 survey responders reported placing the fork parallel and perpendicular to the EAC respectively. The sound intensity (sound-pressure level) recorded at the tympanic membrane with the 512 Hz tuning fork tines in parallel with as opposed to perpendicular to the EAC was louder by 2.5 dB (95 % CI: 1.35, 3.65 dB; p 

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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