If you suffer from hearing loss, facial nerve disorders or other hearing and balance related conditions, you may benefit from advanced audiologic testing. These comprehensive diagnostic exams can determine the cause, severity and best treatment option for these conditions.
Some of the common types of audiologic tests include:
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
Also known as the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response Test (BAER), the ABR examines brain waves that are stimulated by a clicking sound to evaluate the auditory pathways in the brain. Electrodes are placed on the scalp and earlobes and the patient listens to a clicking noise through headphones. The electrodes record the brain's reaction. The ABR is used to diagnose nervous system abnormalities and hearing loss in infants. Abnormal responses can be the result of acoustic neuromas, multiple sclerosis or a stroke.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing
OAEs are very soft acoustic responses to stimuli from the outer hair cells in the cochlea. The test is performed by inserting a microphone and two speakers into the ear to emit a sound and then record the response signal. The test is often performed on children when hearing loss is a possibility. Absent or very soft response signals could be the result of hearing loss, fluid behind the ears or damage to the cochlea.
ENoG testing is performed to obtain information about facial nerve functioning. All facial movements rely on communication in the form of impulses that travel between the facial nerve and muscles of the face. During ENoG testing, electrodes are attached to the face near the nose and on the forehead. A stimulation device is used to deliver fluctuating levels of electrical energy to the face to produce readings on the nerve’s capabilities. ENoG testing is often conducted if a patient is experiencing facial paralysis to determine the extent of facial nerve function and provide a prognosis.