1. Inspect for any visible abnormalities on the exterior of the head.
This may include noting any lumps or bumps on the head, as well as checking for any discoloration or swelling.
2. Assess pupil size and reactivity to light.
The examiner should note both the size of the pupils and how quickly they react to changes in light.
3. Test cranial nerve function by checking muscle movement in the face.
This includes testing forehead wrinkles, eye closure, and pursing of the lips.
4. Examine the gag reflex.
By asking the patient to open their mouth and then touch the back of their tongue with a finger.
5. Check hearing by asking patient to listen to whispered words.
The examiner should be able to determine if the patient is able to hear at all, as well as how well they are able to hear different pitches and volumes.
6. Assess the sense of smell by having the patient identify odors.
The examiner should provide a variety of smells, such as coffee, peppermint, and banana.
7. Test balance and coordination.
By having the patient walk in a straight line, then turn around and walk back. The examiner should also test balance by having the patient stand on one foot for 30 seconds.
8. Look for signs of neurological problems, such as tremors or muscle weakness.
This may include observing the patient's posture and movements, as well as checking for any abnormal reflexes.