What Is the brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) Exam?
The brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test measures how your brain processes stimuli. The BAER test captures your brainwaves in response to audio clicks or tones. This examination is also known as an auditory brainstem evoked potentials (BAEP) or auditory brainstem response (ABR) examination.
A BAER test can aid in diagnosing hearing loss and nervous system disorders, particularly in newborns, young children, and others who may not be able to partake in a conventional hearing test.
How Is the BAER Test Conducted?
BAER tests are fast and straightforward, with almost no potential risks or complications. You are not required to prepare for the test, but you may be requested to wash your hair the night before to remove oils that could prevent the testing equipment from sticking to your scalp.
The doctor will place small electrodes (adhesive patches with wires affixed) on your scalp and earlobes while you lie back in a recliner or bed and remain still. The electrodes are linked to a device that records brain activity. The doctor may administer a sedative if your neonate or child cannot stay still during an examination.
The physician will then provide you with earphones. A series of clicks or tones will be broadcast through the earphones, but you are not required to respond to them. The electrodes on your head and earlobes will capture your brain's response to sounds. It will indicate whether you are perceiving sounds correctly and whether they are reaching your brain.
What Do the Results of the Test Mean?
Your test results should indicate that your brain activity spiked whenever you heard one of the tapping sounds or other tones. The presence of flat lines when one of the tones or clicking noises was played may indicate hearing loss.
Additionally, abnormal test results may indicate that you have suffered brain or nervous system injury. This could be the result of:
- Multiple sclerosis (an autoimmune disease that damages the nerve cell's protective coverings)
- Another condition that damages the myelin sheath enveloping your nerve cells is central pontine myelinolysis.
- Acoustic neuroma (a tumour that grows on the nerve connecting the ear to the brain)
- Brain injury
- Brain tumour
- a speech disorders
If your test results are abnormal, additional tests will likely be necessary to ascertain the cause. After identifying the underlying cause, your doctor will discuss treatment options.