A brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test measures how your brain processes the sounds you hear. The BAER test records your brainwaves in response to clicks or other audio tones that are played for you. The test is also called a brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEP) or auditory brainstem response (ABR) test.

A BAER test can help to diagnose hearing loss and nervous system disorders, especially in newborns, young children, and others who may not be able to participate in a standard hearing test.

BAER tests are quick and easy, and have virtually no risks or complications. The doctor will then give you a set of earphones. You should hear a series of clicks or tones played through the earphones, but you do not need to do anything in response to the sounds. The electrodes placed on your scalp and earlobes will record how your brain reacts to the noises you hear. It will show if you are hearing the sounds properly and if they are being conducted from your ears to your brain.

A printout of your test results should show spikes in your brain activity each time you heard one of the clicking sounds or other tones. If your results show flat lines when one of the tones or clicking sounds was played, it may indicate that you have hearing loss.

Abnormal test results can also indicate that you have sustained damage to your brain or nervous system. This could be caused by multiple sclerosis, central pontine myelinolysis, acoustic neuroma, stroke, brain injury etc.

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