Utility of Rinne’s tuning fork test for quantitative assessment of conductive hearing loss

Shivakumar Senniappan, Rohith Chendigi


Background: The Rinne tuning fork test is used routinely in clinical ENT examination. It is used to assess the person’s hearing acuity. Ideally, 3 tuning forks are used 256, 512 and 1024 Hz. Rinne tuning fork tests can be used to diagnose conductive hearing loss. Aim of our study an attempt is made to find the utility of three different tuning forks (256,512,1024 Hz) for quantification of conductive hearing loss and their accuracy.

Methods: A retrospective study with a sample size of 300 was undertaken over 12 months from April 2018 to March 2019 at the out-patient department of ENT of VMKV medical college and hospital, Salem. Patients of both sexes and aged above 10 yrs presenting with conductive hearing loss due to varied etiology were subjected to complete ENT examination including Rinne test with three different tuning forks (256, 512, 1024 Hz).

Results: The results of all the tuning forks (256, 512, 1024 Hz) shows that 29 patients were Rinne’s positive to all tuning forks had the air-bone gap range of 15 dB to 19 dB with a mean air-bone gap of 17.63 dB. 83 patients were negative to 256 Hz tuning fork but positive to 512 and 1024 Hz tuning forks had the air-bone gap range of 20 to 29 dB with a mean air-bone gap of 25.46 dB.

Conclusions: We conclude that Rinne’s tuning fork test can be used to quantify the degree of conductive hearing loss into mild (20-30 dB), moderate (30-45 dB), and severe (45-60 dB).


Rinne test, Tuning forks, Conductive hearing loss, Utility

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