Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) or Auditory Evoked Potential (AEP)

The auditory brainstem response (ABR) test is an electrophysiological test that tells the audiologist how the cochlea (inner ear) and the auditory nerve (8th cranial nerve), and the brain pathways (brainstem) for hearing and auditory cortex are working. You may also hear it called as an auditory evoked potential (AEP).

ABR is used with children and adults who cannot complete a typical behavioral hearing screening test (pure tone audiometry, speech audiometry, word recognition scores etc.,). This test is also used if your symptoms might be due to hearing loss in the brain (auditory cortex) or in a brain pathway (brainstem).

How is ABR done?

You will have sensors (electrodes) put on your head and behind the ear (mastoid) to prep for the ABR test. The electrodes are stuck to your skin and connected to an ABR equipment. They record brain wave activity in response to sounds you hear through earphones. All you have to do is rest quietly or sleep during the test. You do not have to say or do anything. The person doing the test will see the results on a computer screen. Through this test your audiologist establishes frequency specific thresholds for different sound levels thus, determining the severity, type, degree of hearing loss and the true thresholds of hearing across frequencies.