The detection of damage in gear teeth is paramount to any condition monitoring or structural health monitoring (SHM) tool for aerospace power transmissions such as those used in helicopters. Current inspection techniques include vibration analysis and time-inefficient visual inspection. Acoustic Emission (AE) is a very sensitive detection tool that has been successfully used in many SHM systems. Successful application of AE for damage detection in gear teeth will enable the optimisation of gear box design (and hence weight saving) in addition to safety improvements. This paper details a small aspect of a larger project designed to demonstrate automatic detection and location of common gear tooth defects. A novel test rig was designed to allow the fatigue loading of an individual gear tooth which was monitored using AE. The gear tooth was static in order to exclude the detection of AE signals arising from rotation; this allows initial development of the methodology prior to investigating rotating gears. Digital Image Correlation was used to determine the onset of cracking for comparison with the detected AE. Preliminary results of the investigation show that the developed methodology is appropriate for developing an automated gear health monitoring system and that future work should concentrate on the development of sensors and data acquisition methods associated with obtaining signals from rotating machinery.