Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) is a hearing test mainly used for screening hearing of newborns. ABR is used with older children when the audiologist is unable to obtain valid information by an audiogram. The test is non-invasive and painless. Auditory brainstem response is measured by attaching electrodes to the ear lobes and scalp.
A series of clicks is presented to each ear through earpieces inserted into the ear canals. Brain wave activity is then measured in response to the clicks.
Based on the highs and lows of the graph, and their timing in relation to the auditory stimuli, the audiologist can assess the health of the hearing nerves and any other neurological components that aid in hearing.
Because ABR requires no visible response to sound on the part of the newborn or olderchild, it is not considered to be a behavioral hearing test like an audiogram.
That is, ABR provides an indirect estimate of the individual’s hearing level and usually yields less information about hearing than a valid audiogram.