Hearing Test FAQs


  • Can you test whether my dog can hear high or low frequencies?
    • No, the hearing test primarily assesses the patient’s ability to hear different levels of loudness for sounds.
  • If my dog is deaf, is there anything that can treat that?
    • It depends on what the possible cause is:
      • For breed-associated/inherited deafness or age-related deafness, there is no treatment. In these patients, the small cells that detect sound in the ear either never developed (inherited), or are dying off as the patient ages. There are no hearing aids or cochlear implants that can improve hearing in dogs. Training and working with a deaf dog is still possible, and there are several online resources for owners of deaf dogs.
      • For patients that could have an ear infection, or abnormal material in the middle ear (like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and “glue ear”), resolution of the infection or removal of the material may improve the hearing, but sometimes there is residual damage to the cells and structures that process sound, and the patient will always have decreased hearing. This would likely involve additional diagnostics like a CT scan, and if there is an indication that this is likely the case in a patient getting a hearing test, a separate appointment would need to be scheduled for exam and additional diagnostics.


Animals can have hearing loss for many different reasons, but the some of the most common are:

  • Ear infection
  • Inherited deafness (particularly in certain breeds like Dalmatians, border collies, Boston Terriers, and others)
  • Age-related deafness/hearing loss

The brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER), is a test that assesses the function of the hearing system. Foam ear plugs in the ear canals deliver a clicking stimulus, and electrodes placed on the patient’s head detect the neurological signals relayed along the nerve and through the brain.

Each of the peaks represents a relay of hearing signals from the nerve in the ear up to the brain.

Sample BAER waveforms from a patient with normal hearing
Example of a BAER in a patient with normal hearing.