Diagnostic Audiology Program
What is an Auditory Brainstem Response test?
An Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test is a sleep EEG hearing test which shows the softest sounds your child's ears can detect at various pitches.
How is the test performed?
There will be 3 or 4 small stickers on your child's head, connected to leads going into a computer. Sounds will be presented through an earphone to each ear separately while a computer analyzes the changes in the brain wave pattern in response to sounds.
The test is not painful or uncomfortable in any way, but it is necessary for your child to be asleep in order to obtain clear recordings during the test.
You will be in the room with your child during the test, and the results will be explained immediately afterward.
This test may be performed sedated or unsedated, depending on the age and health of your child.
What should I bring to the appointment?
- Insurance cards
- Referral number (if your insurance plan requires a referral for audiological evaluations)
For an ABR evaluation, with chloral hydrate sedation, bring:
- Anything your child usually likes to fall asleep with, such as a toy or blanket
- A stroller if your child would be heavy to carry to the car afterward
- A clear liquid for your child to drink when s/he wakes up
How long does an ABR test take?
ABR evaluations, both sedated and unsedated, take approximately 2-3 hours to complete.
Please follow these feeding instructions:
Under 6 months of age:
No solid food, milk, or formula for 4 hours before the test.
6 months or older:
No solid food, milk, or formula for 6 hours before the test.
For all children:
Clear liquids such as water, breast milk, or apple juice should be given until 2 hours before the test. Please bring your child awake but very sleepy.