Auditory Brainstem Response (Sedated and Non-sedated)

An auditory brainstem response (ABR) test measures auditory nerve reactions in response to sounds. ABR is not a hearing test itself, but it can be used to detect hearing loss in infants and young children. ABR is considered one of the premier screening tests for infants and young children. An audiologist may recommend an ABR test due to the findings of the hearing test. Children who aren’t old enough for behavioral tests such as visual reinforcement or conditioned play audiometry may also be referred for an ABR test, as well as children who do not respond consistently or are difficult to test. A child must be asleep during the 1 to 2-hour ABR test. Older children need to be sedated for an ABR test. The audiologist places small, sterilized electrodes (“stickers”) on the child’s forehead and ears. The electrodes are connected to a computer that reads EEG activity. Earphones go inside the child’s ear canals. The audiologist will play either “clicks” or a “tone burst” through the earphones. Bone conduction auditory brainstem response (BCABR) works in much the same way as standard ABR. In BCABR, bone conduction headphones replace the earphones. BCABR measures auditory responses by stimulating the cochlea.

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