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The BERA exam, also known as ABR or Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potential, is an exam that evaluates the entire auditory system, checking the presence of hearing loss, which can happen due to damage to the cochlea, the auditory nerve or in the brain stem.
Although it can be performed on adults, the BERA test is performed more frequently on children and babies, especially when there is a risk of hearing loss due to genetic conditions or when there is an altered result in the ear test, which is a test performed shortly after birth that assesses the newborn's hearing ability. Understand how the ear test is done and the results.
In addition, this test can also be ordered in children who have delayed language development, as this delay can be a sign of hearing problems. Learn how to identify if the baby does not hear well.
What is the exam for
The BERA exam is mainly indicated to evaluate the development and auditory response of children, premature newborns, autistic children or children with genetic alterations, such as Down Syndrome.
In addition, the test can also be done to diagnose hearing loss in adults, investigate the cause of tinnitus, detect the presence of tumors involving the auditory nerves, or to monitor hospitalized or comatose patients.
How the exam is done
The exam lasts between 30 and 40 minutes and is usually done while you sleep, as it is a very sensitive exam and, therefore, any movement can interfere with the exam result. If the child moves a lot during sleep, the doctor may advise sedating the child for the duration of the exam, to ensure that there is no movement and that the result is not altered.
The exam consists of placing electrodes behind the ear and on the forehead, in addition to a headset that is responsible for producing sounds that will activate the brainstem and auditory nerves, generating electricity spikes according to the intensity of the stimulus, which are captured by the electrode and interpreted by the physician from the sound waves recorded by the equipment.
The BERA exam does not require any special preparation and is a non-invasive procedure that does not cause any pain or discomfort.