image shows an ABR hearing test device

ABR Hearing Testing

What Is an ABR HearingTest?

An ABR test (Auditory Brainstem Response Test) measures the neural activity of a large portion of the auditory nerve pathway. ABR recording can be applied for diagnostic or screening hearing tests to identify hearing problems which can be related to inner ear or subcortical auditory structures. Such an Auditory Brainstem Response hearing test analyzes the neural activity from the auditory nerve to the lower brainstem noninvasively. Electrodes pick up the electrical activity from surface of the skin, including the activity of the brain, muscle activities (myogenic noise) and electromagnetic interferences. The ABR test device analyzes these activities by looking for specific patterns, which indicate a normal transduction of sounds into electrical activity and its processing by the auditory brainstem. Various lesions on the auditory pathway change the ability of the cochlea to convert sound waves into neural stimuli and allow these electrical impulses to travel to the brain.

How Is an ABR Hearing Test Performed?

To perform an Auditory Brainstem Response Test, electrodes are placed on the surface of the skin at the patient’s head. Good signal quality is achieved by preparation of the skin, improving the conductivity. An electrical potential with very low amplitudes is amplified and recorded, while the endogenous Auditory Brainstem Response system delivers acoustical stimuli to the ears. No response from the patient is needed, but for accurate results the patient should be relaxed. The ABR test device analyzes the electrical activity and displays the results on its screen. MAICO’s ABR screening devices provide a clear PASS or REFER result based on powerful statistical test methods and support the user performing this sensitive test.

When Is an ABR Hearing Test Necessary?

For Newborn Hearing Screening, an Auditory Brainstem Response Test is usually performed as a follow-up test of an OAE hearing test (Otoacoustic Emissions test). While an OAE hearing test can only confirm hearing function up to the cochlea, the ABR screening is a more advanced hearing test to evaluate the processing of an acoustic stimulus by the auditory brainstem. ABR tests can be performed with persons of all ages. They are very often used in Newborn Hearing Screening, as they do not require an active response from the patient and can objectively locate postcochlear lesions affecting the hearing.

To find out why we care so much about Newborn Hearing Screening, watch our video:

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Easy-to-Use MAICO ABR Devices for Newborn Hearing Screening

Find ABR screening systems for easy and fast hearing tests at MAICO — choose between our MB 11 Classic for binaural ABR screening, our unique MB 11 BERAphone® for ABR screening without disposables and our new easyScreen for Auditory Brainstem Response and Otoacoustic Emissions tests in a single device. Our MAICO devices are designed to make ABR hearing tests for infants quick and as comfortable as possible. Baby-friendly & efficient!

MAICO Training: Learn how to conduct ABR tests easily with our MAICO devices