The Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) test is a hearing test that measures the brain’s response to sounds. A series of clicks are delivered via single use earphones placed in your pet’s ear. Tiny electrodes are placed on the head to measure brain waves. The BAER test allows us to determine if an animal has hearing loss due to a blockage in the sound pathway, from damage to the hearing nerves, or from a brain problem. The test can also determine complete hearing loss or deafness in one or both ears and is a more sensitive test than clapping. Hearing tests in young dogs may be important for breeding certification, particularly in breeds predisposed to deafness (Dalmatian). Puppies and kittens should be at least 8 weeks old. Sedation is often not needed but particularly rambunctious pets may require slight sedation. The test itself takes less than 5 minutes.
This test can also be very useful in measuring brain waves in patients who’ve suffered from severe illness or who have complications under anesthesia. While we all hope this never happens, a BAER test can be helpful in determining recovery after life threatening complications.