Doctors and other experts have called for the installation of equipment for Brainstem Evoked Response Audiometry (BERA) test and Optoacoustic Emissions (OAE) test at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital (MGMGH), which are considered to be the most important screening and diagnostic tools for detecting hearing impairment in children. While some private hospitals in the city already have these two tests, MGMGH is yet to procure the equipment. The tests are considered as the tools which determine whether a child has to undergo cochlear implantation surgery. As of now children were taken to either Chennai or Madurai to undergo the tests free of cost to check if they have to undergo the surgery.
Sometimes, children who are not able to travel to Chennai or Madurai, take BERA and OAE tests at private hospitals in the city which will cost around ₹50,000. Speaking about BERA and OAE tests, assistant professor at department of ENT in KAP Viswantham Government Medical College, Dr A Satheesh Kumar said, “OAE is a screening tool to find how well a child’s cochlea works. BERA is something like EEG test but for ear and is essential to confirm if a child has hearing impairment,” he said. Dean at MGMGH Dr G Anitha said that efforts are being taken to install both BERA and OAE equipment and would be made available soon. “Both together will cost around ₹20 lakh,” she told. – TOI