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CANINE ABR FAQ's


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WHAT IS AN OTOACOUSTIC EMISSION (OAE)?

An OAE is performed prior to an ABR to make sure that the cochlea is functioning normally.

WHAT IS AN AUDITORY BRAINSTEM RESPONSE (ABR)?

The ABR is a test that examines the ability of a dogs hearing receptors, auditory nerve, and auditory pathways in the brain to hear different sounds.

HOW IS AN OAE AND ABR PERFORMED?

An OAE is performed by inserting rubber inserts into the dogs ear canal and running the test. The ABR is performed by inserting foam rubber earplugs (which emit a clicking sound) into the dog’s ear canal. Then the dogs skin is wiped with an alcohol pad and some very small recording electrodes are placed under the skin (these are EEG electrodes, and they record activity from nerve cells in the inner ear and the brain) and then the test is run.

Q the dog sleeping during an ABR test

Q the dog sleeping during an ABR test.

WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE YOUR DOG TESTED?

The ABR test can tell you if your dog has a hearing loss, which ear is affected, and the location and severity of the disorder.
Dogs may be difficult to train and some with partial deafness may have problems localizing sounds.
Dogs with severe hearing loss do not respond to loud noises, or owners' calling.
With this information, you as an owner can better understand your dog’s behavior and properly train them.

Graph of test results showing hearing loss.

Graph of test results showing hearing loss.

Graph of test results showing normal hearing.

Graph of test results showing normal hearing.

WHAT MAKES THE ABR BETTER AT CHECKING FOR A HEARING LOSS THAN TRADITIONAL METHODS?

Traditional methods of testing a dogs ability to hear was by making a loud sudden noise and observing the dogs response.
The ABR provides an objective assessment of auditory function in dogs.
The ABR objectively examines a dog's hearing by bypassing the need to rely subjectively on the patient's response.

For more detailed information, read the ABR OVERVIEW.

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?

Contact Bioacoustics Laboratory UConn
UConn Bioacoustics Laboratory
3636 Horsebarn Hill Road Ext Unit 4040
Storrs, CT, 06269
Phone: 860-486-0567

Dog during ABR test
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Original photographs courtesy of the Bioacoustics Laboratory UConn. Edited by Frances Foley.

Production, Graphics & Design by Frances Caprio Foley.
Noisemakers Productions. Copyright 2007.
Updated June 2007.