Hearing and vision tests are the key health assessments undertaken in pediatrics. Children should undergo both vision and hearing screenings at the earliest possible time in a health clinic. This is particularly the case with newborns, as some of them may rarely have certain abnormalities related to both vision and hearing. However, testing the vision and hearing status of a child in low income health clinics is the best way in early identification and treatment of the problem.

Identification of the hearing and vision problems among children is crucial at a very early stage because both the senses are linked to speech and language development as well as their social and educational development. There are several tests that are used for determining the status of hearing and vision among newborns. Below are some hearing and vision tests done at our low income health clinics for newborn children.

Hearing Tests

Two of the most commonly used hearing tests for identifying any hearing issues among newborns are Automated Otoacoustic Emissions (AOE) test and Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) test.

  • AOE Test

This test can be quickly carried out, even while the child is sleeping. For the test, a small earpiece is inserted into the child’s ear that plays out clicking sounds. This will, in turn, result in reaction sounds to be produced from the cochlea of the ear, which is then analyzed using a computer for determining the hearing of the child.

  • AABR Test

While carrying out the AABR test, three small sensors are placed on the head and neck of the child. Then soft clicking sounds are played through a soft headphone placed on the ears. Using a computer, the data gathered from the sensor is then analyzed for determining the response of the ears to the sound.

Vision Tests

Vision tests that are undertaken at our low income health clinics involve testing the eyes for any physical defects such as squints and cloudiness. Two of the major vision tests carried out at our clinic are Pupil Reflex test and Red Reflex test.

  • Pupil Reflex Test

This test will determine how the pupils of the eye respond to incoming light. In the test, a light source is pointed at the eyes of the child from a distance of 10 cms. If the pupil shrinks automatically it is normal, otherwise, it indicates some problems with the pupil response.

  • Red Reflex Test

For this test, an instrument called ophthalmoscope is used to shine light into the eyes. A red reflection is indicative of the normal functioning of the retina of the eye. A white reflection is a sign of an underlying eye condition known as cataract.

As said, hearing and vision tests in infants and children are very important to diagnose any underlying health issues at the onset. Book an appointment at our low income health clinic to consult with a specialist and learn more about the tests.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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