Video – Rinne Test

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Rinne Test

This video will present the Rinne test. This test helps to compare sound perception transmitted by bone conduction to sound transmitted by air conduction. Sound is delivered to the cochlea of the inner ear by two conduction pathways.

In air conduction, the sound is gathered by the external ear, funneled by the external auditory canal to the tympanic membrane, and onward to the inner ear via the ossicles. In bone conduction, the sound is transmitted directly through the bones of the skull to the inner ear, bypassing the air conduction pathway. Regardless of which pathway brings the sound to the cochlea, it is received here and then transmitted to the brain via the auditory nerve. However, sound conducted by air is greater than that conducted by bone.

To explain the Rinne test, an example of a patient with hearing loss in the left ear will be used. Strike a 512 Hertz tuning fork and place its handle on the left mastoid process. Ask the patient to report when they can no longer hear the sound. At that moment, place the still vibrating end of the tuning fork near the patient’s left ear and ask them if they can hear the sound again. If the patient says that they could not hear the sound again, it means that bone conduction was greater than air conduction, representing an abnormal pattern. This indicates the presence of a conductive hearing loss in the bad ear. On the other hand, if the patient reports that they can hear the sound again, it suggests a sensorineural hearing loss in the bad ear. This is because in a sensorineural hearing loss, even though the patient’s hearing is diminished, the normal pattern of greater air conduction than bone conduction is maintained.

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