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Acoustic Reflexes

Acoustic reflexes are auditory reflexes that contract in response to loud sounds. The test, which can be performed on all ages, looks at the loudness level where the reflex occurs or the absence of the reflex and provides information regarding the type of hearing loss and/or site of lesion.


During the test, a probe tip is placed in each ear and loud sounds are presented to elicit a “reflex.” This reflex is measured in either the ipsilateral (same) ear or the contralateral (opposite) ear, thereby evaluating the integrity of the reflex arc and auditory pathway between ears.


Occasionally a seal cannot be maintained on an individual’s ear canal due to shape. In children, reflexes can only be completed when the child is completely still.