8th Cranial nerve – Rinne’s test – Vestibulocochlear test for hearing

Definition:

The Rinne test is often performed after the Webber test to determine whether a patient’s hearing is reduced because of a sensory-neural pathology or a conductive obstruction by discriminating between air and bony conduction.

Test procedure:

Using a vibrating 512 Hz tuning fork, place it on the patient’s mastoid process on the side where the hearing is reduced and ask the patient when the humming sound stops, at which point the practitioner places the tuning fork by the patient’s ear without adding any more vibration to the fork.

Test findings (inc Positive & Negative results):

 A normal result is for air conduction to be greater than bone conduction.

Therefore, if the patient, is able to hear the humming on their mastoid process, but unable to hear it by their ear, this is indicative of a conductive hearing loss on that side.

Considerations:

If a conductive hearing loss is suspected, assess the external acoustic meatus using an otoscope, looking for any signs of obstruction and or abnormalities.

Together with the Webber test, the Rinne test enables the practitioner to discriminate between a sensory-neural or a conductive loss in hearing.