Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates, visitor restrictions and resources →

BAER - brainstem auditory evoked response

  • Definition
    • Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) is a test to measure the brain wave activity that occurs in response to clicks or certain tones.

  • Alternative Names
    • Evoked auditory potentials; Brainstem auditory evoked potentials; Evoked response audiometry; Auditory brainstem response; ABR; BAEP

  • How the Test is Performed
    • You lie on a reclining chair or bed and remain still. Electrodes are placed on your scalp and on each earlobe. A brief click or tone will be transmitted through earphones you are wearing during the test. The electrodes pick up the brain's responses to these sounds and record them. You do not need to be awake for this test.

  • How to Prepare for the Test
    • You may be asked to wash your hair the night before the test.

      Young children often need medicine to help them relax (sedation) so they can stay still during the procedure.

  • Why the Test is Performed
    • The test is done to:

      • Help diagnose nervous system problems and hearing loss (especially in newborns and children)
      • Find out how well the nervous system works
      • Check hearing ability in people who cannot do other hearing tests

      This test may also be performed during surgery to decrease the risk for injury to the hearing nerve and brain.

  • Normal Results
    • Normal results vary. Results will depend on the person and the instruments used to perform the test.

  • What Abnormal Results Mean
  • Risks
    • There are no risks associated with this test.

  • References
    • Brown CJ, Johnson TA. Electrophysiologic assessment of hearing. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 134.

      Hahn CD, Emerson RG. Electroencephalography and evoked potentials. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 34.