The ABR test measures the reaction of the parts of a child’s nervous system that affect hearing. (The ABR test measures the hearing nerve’s response to sounds.)
An ABR test is often ordered if a newborn fails the hearing screening test given in the hospital shortly after birth, or for older children if there is a suspicion of hearing loss that was not confirmed through more conventional hearing tests.
The Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test is a helpful tool in determining a child’s ability to hear. The test uses a special computer to measure the way the child’s hearing nerve responds to different sounds.
Three to four small stickers called “electrodes” will be placed on your child’s head and in front of his or her ears and connected to a computer. As sounds are made through the earphones,the electrodes measure how your child’s hearing nerves respond to them.
The audiologist, or hearing specialist, looks for certain neurological “markers” as your child’s hearing nerves respond to sounds. The softest intensity or loudness level at which these markers appear roughly corresponds to the child’s hearing level in that frequency range or pitch. By reading a computer printout of your child’s responses and interpreting these markers, the audiologist can tell if your child has a hearing problem.