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Examination of hearing in infants and children (Otoacoustic emissions and Play Audiometry)

Εξέταση Ωτοακουστικών Εκπομπών. Το μικροσκοπικό βύσμα τοποθετείται στον ακουστικό πόρο του βρέφους την ώρα που κοιμάται. Αν το παιδί είναι ήρεμο, η εξέταση διαρκεί 20 έως 60 δευτερόλεπτα για κάθε αυτί.
Otoacoustic emissions testing. The small probe is placed in the ear canal, while the infant is asleep. If the child is quiet, the test can be completed in less than 30 seconds for each ear.

Early diagnosis of child deafness is very important for its effective management and avoidance of severe consequences and complications. Recently there is a tendency towards screening all infants for deafness, with a simple and quick test, the Otoacoustic Emissions. We perform this test since the mid- 90’s, being the first private ENT office in Greece that installed this equipment. All that is needed for the test is a small probe, which is inserted into the child’s ear canal (see image). If the infant is quiet or asleep, the duration of the test is less than 30 seconds for each ear.

Normal result confirms normal function of the organ of hearing. If the result is abnormal, the test is repeated in one month’s time to confirm abnormal recording, and then middle ear function is tested with tympanometry. Infants with abnormal otoacoustic emissions and normal tympanogram must be tested with Auditory Evoked Potentials.

Φυσιολογική εξέταση Ωτοακουστικών εκπομπών. Καταγράφονται υψηλά δυναμικά με φυσιολογικό εύρος συχνοτήτων (βέλος).
Normal Otoacoustic Emissions. High potentials with a wide spread across the frequency spectrum (arrow).
Παθολογική εξέταση Ωτοακουστικών Εκπομπών. Τα δυναμικά είναι χαμηλά, οι δύο καμπύλες (Α και Β) της καταγραφής δεν συμπίπτουν, και δεν εμφανίζεται λευκή περιοχή εκπομπών στο παράθυρο κατανομής συχνοτήτων.
Abnormal Otoacoustic Emissions. Potentials are low, and two separate curves can be seen in the central part of the report (A and B). No white (emissions) area is present in the small window with the frequency spectrum.
Παιγνιδοακοομετρία. Το εξεταζόμενο παιδί τοποθετεί ένα κρίκο στην πλαστική βάση, κάθε φορά που ακούει έναν ήχο από τα ακουστικά.
Play Audiometry. The child places a ring in the plastic base, every time she hears a sound from the headphones.

Older children, who can co-operate to play with the examiner, but are too young to have a proper audiogram, can be tested with some variant of play-audiometry. In the simplest form of it, the child is asked to do a move in play, when he/she hears a sound (see image).

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