Adult ABR : Auditory Brainstem Response Testing

About the ABR Test

Your physician has requested a special type of hearing/nerve test called an Auditory Brainstem Response Test or ABR (some texts refer to this test as a BAER or BEAR test). The purpose of this test is to aid in the evaluation of your hearing, auditory nerves, and central auditory pathways. Insert earphones are worn by the patient, rapid click sounds (stimuli) are presented to the ears, and brain wave activity (electrical responses) is measured.

An ABR is somewhat like having an ECG (electrocardiogram) of your heart with the electrical responses "evoked" by sound waves. You may think of an ABR as having an "ECG of your ear."

What to Expect

During the test procedure, you will rest in a quiet environment while listening to click sounds presented through insert earphones that are placed into your ear canals. Four snap electrodes will be taped to your mid and lower forehead as well as to your mastoid (the bone behind your ear) or lobe of each ear. (NO NEEDLES ARE INVOLVED. THERE IS NO PAIN.) The audiologist will be measuring small electrical impulses from the hearing nerve in each ear. With a computer, the audiologist will evaluate the brain wave activity as it appears on a computer screen.

It is important that you remain as relaxed as possible during the test. You will be asked to remain quiet with your eyes closed. Being quiet reduces the body's extraneous electrical activity from muscle movement, etc. In many instances, the best test results are obtained if you simply fall asleep during the evaluation. There is no discomfort associated with the ABR test.

You will not receive the result of your test on the day of testing. The data collected must be analyzed and then reviewed by one of our physicians prior to releasing the results. If you do not have a follow-up appointment with your doctor, the audiologist will contact you in a timely manner to discuss the results.

We would appreciate it if you would make plans to arrive on time for your ABR. If you arrive more than 10 minutes late, the test will need to be rescheduled as there will not be enough time to complete the evaluation.

If you have any questions or concerns about your appointment, contact us. Please call (336) 273-9932 and ask for the Audiology Department.

We look forward to seeing you at your appointment.

Last revised November 3, 2010