Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) testing is an electro-diagnostic test used to evaluate the hearing of dogs, cats and other domestic animals. Animals have incredibly sensitive hearing and can suffer from hearing loss just like people. Certain animals may also be at higher risk for congenital deafness - which is hearing loss at birth.
Our audiology services can help detect congenital deafness, suspected acquired hearing loss, and unilateral hearing loss (hearing loss in one ear) for dogs and cats. This testing can also help to rule out other health or behavioral issues and assess brainstem function.
Just like people, animals with hearing loss can still thrive and often rely on their other senses to do so. It’s easy to worry about the “what ifs” and “what do I do now?” when facing the reality that your pet may not be able to hear you but with patience and training your pet can still live their happiest life. Breeders can rest assured knowing our certified audiologist provides OFA certification.
Who should be tested?
Adult dogs and cats with suspected hearing loss (difficult to wake, change in attentiveness or obedience, louder barking or meowing than usual, unresponsive to his/her name, less active, less or no response to noises in their environment)
Litters of puppies that are at least 35 days old and breeds that may be high risk for congenital deafness (Dalmatians, English setters, English cocker spaniels, Australian cattle dogs, and Jack Russell terriers)
Litters of kittens that are at least 35 days old and breeds that may be high risk for congenital deafness (white Persians, white Scottish folds, Ragdolls, white cornish rex and Devon rex, white oriental shorthair, white Turkish angora, white Maine Coone, and white Manx)
Puppies or kittens with white fur and blue eyes, piebald or merle colorations may also be at higher risk for congenital deafness
What To Expect
Typically each test takes between 30-45 minutes depending on how your pet may respond to it. Our audiologist will attach 3 small needle electrodes under the skin on the head and soft foam inserts will be placed into the ear canal. After set-up is complete, clicks and other audio tones will be played and your pet’s brainwave responses to these tones will be recorded.
Because BAER testing requires your pet to be incredibly still during the process some owners may find that it’s easier to test when given a sedative however, sedation is not required for the procedure to be completed. Sometimes, retesting may be necessary if an ear infection is present as this can interfere with results and may need to be treated first. Retesting may also be necessary for puppies as they can be at risk for losing their hearing for up to the first 15 weeks.