Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response Testing

The Dermatology and Otology Service at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center is pleased to offer brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) hearing testing for puppies to evaluate for congenital deafness, as well as for adult dogs and cats with suspected acquired hearing loss.

The BAER is an objective test used to measure the animal's auditory response to sound stimulation. It is performed by attaching three small needle electrodes under the skin and placing soft foam ear inserts into the ear canal. It is rare for an animal to experience any pain from the procedure; however, some animals find the wires hanging in front of their face to be annoying. The equipment will produce a sound, usually a click, at a specific intensity in decibels (dB), and the equipment records an electrical response elicited by the cochlea and brainstem to the sound. Each ear is tested separately, and the response waveform consists of a series of peaks that are numbered with Roman numerals from I to V. At the end of the procedure, a printout of the actual recorded waveforms will be provided.

Sedation is not required for the screening BAER hearing test for congenital deafness in puppies, since one intensity level per ear is performed, and the testing takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes. A diagnostic BAER hearing test is performed in adult dogs and cats with suspected acquired hearing loss. Up to 10 intensity levels per ear may be performed, which usually takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete. For this procedure, the animal will need to be sedated to make testing easier and the animal more relaxed and comfortable during the testing.

If you are interested in BAER hearing testing for your animal, please call The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center at 614-292-3551, and ask to speak to Dr. Lynette Cole, to discuss your pets hearing, obtain a quote for the estimated costs for testing, and to set up an appointment.