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BAER Hearing Testing in Dogs and Cats

What is Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) Testing?

BAER evaluation is a non-invasive hearing test that allows the board-certified veterinary neurologists at Southeast Veterinary Neurology (SEVN) to confirm the existence of congenital or acquired hearing loss.  This specialized test for dogs and cats takes approximately 10-15 minutes and tests each ear individually.  BAER testing can be performed at any point in a dog or cat’s life.  If you are interested in testing puppies or kittens, it can be performed after eight weeks of age.


How Does It Work?

The BAER test is completed by using a specialized computer that is connected to multiple electrodes placed just under the skin at specific points on the patient’s head.  The placement of these small electrodes is not painful to the patient.  Once the electrodes are in place, the patient will then have a foam earphone placed in each ear which will make a computer-generated click between 70 and 105 decibels.  After the sound has been transmitted, the electrodes will detect any activity in the hearing pathways of the inner ear and brainstem.  This activity will be transmitted to the computer and will show as waveforms on a graph, much like an electrocardiogram (EKG) shows electrical activity in the heart.  Peaks in the waveform represent activity in the cochlea and other auditory pathways, while a flat waveform represents inactivity (deafness).


When Will I Get Results?

Once the testing is complete, the neurologists at SEVN will prepare a complete report of the findings.  Our BAER testing protocol is compliant with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).  An OFA certificate can be provided.


  1. LuAnn E Murphy on January 14, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    I would like to have my 3 year old cat tested.

    • Southeast Veterinary Neurology on March 12, 2019 at 10:06 pm

      Hi LuAnn. Sorry for the very late reply. If you haven’t already (forgive me, I am at home and do not have access to our medical records system to look you up) please call our office and we can set up a BAER test for your cat.

  2. Kathy on August 13, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Do you sedate animals for the BAER test?

    • Southeast Veterinary Neurology on August 13, 2019 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Kathy,
      We typically do not need to sedate pets for the BAER. It is quick and non-painful. Many times the puppies fall asleep during the testing. Occasionally a pet is wiggly (usually adult pets) and if needed, we will discuss sedation with the pet owner. I would say greater than 99% of the time we do NOT sedate.

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