Auditory Brainstem Response

Auditory brainstem response (ABR) tests are one of the most important hearing tests available. ABR is a non-invasive test that measures the brain wave activity in response to sound. They give your hearing healthcare provider and physician information about the inner ear (cochlea) and your brain pathways for hearing. This test is also sometimes referred to as auditory evoked potential (AEP) or the brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER).
ABR tests are often used to assess hearing in children or other people who struggle with active methods of hearing evaluations, because no response is needed from the patient. We also commonly use auditory brainstem response tests for patients with signs and symptoms relating to a type of hearing loss caused by the brain or in a brain pathway. ABR is commonly used for newborn hearing screenings.

What To Expect

The ABR test records brain wave activity in response to sounds using electrodes placed around the forehead and ears. It takes 1–3 hours to complete, depending on the age of the patient and indications for ABR evaluation. You can expect to rest quietly or even sleep in a sound booth while we perform your ABR exam. Some infants and children may require sedation for successful testing.

Once testing is completed, the audiologist will share the preliminary test results with you and explain what they indicate about your hearing health. The results will be analyzed further by the audiologist and you will follow-up with your physician to discuss the results in more detail.