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BAER Testing for dogs

Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) testing, also known as Brainstem Evoked Potential (BSEP), is a hearing test for dogs, cats, and other domestic animals.

The test is used to assess the hearing or the lack of in each ear independently. The brainstem provides information to areas of the brain for interpretation when it comes to hearing. The test is non invasive, and while most patients are awake throughout testing, some may require mild sedation in order to receive an appropriate assessment.

(& Surrounding Areas)

Mobile Services Offered in some areas or Testing in San Diego, CA


Text questions to: (760) 650-6807


Jennifer Vanasse RVT (tester)

Dr. Dawn Love DVM (diagnosing veterinarian)

North Orange Veterinary Hospital

Email regarding BAER Testing

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What Is BAER Testing Good For?

  1. Early detection of cochlear agenesis/degeneration-related hearing loss.

  2. Evaluation of the function of the brainstem (caudal region of the brain).

  3. Conductive hearing loss, which occurs when the external ear canal and middle ear space become inflamed.

  4. Sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs when the cochlea, cochlear nerve, or central auditory pathway are damaged.

Australian Cattle Dog puppy during the BAER test

How BAER Tests Are Performed

The hearing test known as the brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) or brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) detects electrical activity in the cochlea and auditory pathways in the brain. The response waveform consists of a series of peaks; peak I is produced by the cochlear nerve and later peaks are produced within the brain. The response from an ear that is deaf is an essentially flat line. 


The response is collected with a special computer through extremely small electrodes placed under the skin of the scalp: one in front of each ear, and one at the top of the head. It is rare for a dog to show any evidence of pain from the placement of the electrodes - if anything the dog objects to the gentle restraint and the irritation of wires hanging in front of its face. The stimulus click produced by the computer is directed into the ear with a foam insert earphone. Each ear is tested individually, and the test usually is complete in 10-15 minutes.


Sedation or anesthesia are usually not necessary unless the dog becomes extremely agitated, which can usually be avoided with patient and gentle handling. A printout of the test results, showing the actual recorded waveform, is provided at the end of the procedure. Also available is the OFA Submission form signed by a DVM. You do not have to do this, but it is good practice if you are a breeder, to submit your test results for the database of your breed.

Learn more

Article credit to:

Dr. George M. Strain
Louisiana State University
Comparative Biomedical Sciences
School of Veterinary Medicine
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803

Dalmatian puppy BAER testing

Puppies with Hearing Loss

The majority of conscientious breeders of dogs at high risk of congenital deafness screen litters of puppies before selling them. Dalmatians, English setters, English cocker spaniels, Australian cattle dogs, Jack Russell terriers, Dogo Argentino, Parson Terrier are examples of such breeds. At the age of seven weeks, we put these puppies to the test. Because dogs can lose their hearing up to 16 weeks of age, retesting is common, particularly before breeding, if the original test results are suspect, or if the owner sees any issues.


If a puppy's hearing test is negative in one or both ears, there is typically nothing that can be done to help them restore their hearing if they have cochlear degeneration. Congenital deafness cannot be corrected, and the ears are examined for any infection that might interfere with the test. Chronic ear disorders can enlarge the ear canals and send faulty signals to the brainstem, resulting in impaired hearing and a skewed test. Patients are frequently retested after receiving proper treatment in this condition.


Unilateral hearing loss might impair a dog that appears to be able to hear but cannot find the source of the sound (hearing in one ear only). A BAER test can confirm this and pinpoint which ear is affected.

How to Raise a Deaf Dog

It takes patience to raise a deaf dog, but it can be made simpler if the deaf dog is raised alongside a hearing dog. Deaf dogs may be dangerous around children because they are easily startled and may attack a youngster who approaches too close or surprises them from behind. Because deaf dogs cannot hear vehicles, they must be watched outside to avoid being hit by cars.

Blue heeler Australian Cattle Dog Puppy

Videos of BAER Testing

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