The auditory brainstem test your doctor ordered is an objective test of the hearing nerve from the inner ear along the nerve pathway to the brain. It can be used to estimate hearing sensitivity and to help in the diagnosis of abnormalities along the nerve.
The audiologist will place electrodes on your forehead, behind your ears, and possibly, at the corner of one eye. Then inserts will be placed in your ear canals and you will hear several series of clicking sounds. These may stay at one level or get progressively softer. During the test, you will be encouraged to relax as much as possible with eyes closed. You may fall asleep. You do not need to respond during the test.
The electrodes measure the nerve activity that is generated every time a click is present. The computer measures your responses to several thousand of these clicks and creates a waveform that indicates responses of specific places along the auditory pathway. In this way, the health of the hearing nerve can be determined. If the test is being done to find a patient’s hearing sensitivity, the clicks will become softer and softer until no waveforms are identified.
CHAMP stands for Cochlear Hydrops Analysis Masking Procedure. The CHAMP is a special version of the ABR. The preparation for the test is somewhat the same but the clicks are heard along with different types of masking noise. The test is very sensitive to the presence of cochlear hydrops, a feature of Meniere’s disease. Your physician may order the CHAMP test if this condition is suspectedClick here for ABR Patient Instructions