BAER - brainstem auditory evoked response

Alternative names
Evoked auditory potentials; BAEP - brainstem auditory evoked potentials; Evoked response audiometry

The brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test measures responses in brain waves that are stimulated by a clicking sound to evaluate the central auditory pathways of the brainstem.

How the test is performed
You are positioned on a reclining chair or bed and are asked to relax and remain still. Electrodes are placed on your scalp and on each earlobe. You hear clicking noises or tone bursts through earphones, and the electrodes pick up the brain’s response and record it on a graph.

How to prepare for the test
You may be asked to wash your hair the night before the test.

Infants and children:
The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on your child’s age, interests, previous experiences, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics as they correspond to your child’s age:

  • Infant test or procedure preparation (birth to 1 year)  
  • Toddler test or procedure preparation (1 to 3 years)  
  • Preschooler test or procedure preparation (3 to 6 years)  
  • Schoolage test or procedure preparation (6 to 12 years)  
  • Adolescent test or procedure preparation (12 to 18 years)

How the test will feel
There is little discomfort.

Why the test is performed
The test is performed to help diagnose nervous system abnormalities, hearing losses (especially in low-birth-weight newborns), and to assess neurologic functions.

Normal Values
The auditory brain stem values are in a normal range. This range varies among patients and instruments used.

What abnormal results mean
Abnormal findings may indicate a hearing loss, multiple sclerosis, or a cerebrovascular accident (stroke).

Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:

  • Acoustic neuroma  
  • Central pontine myelinolysis

What the risks are
There are no risks.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Mamikon Bozoyan, M.D.

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