The Auditory Brainstem Response: History and Future in Medicine
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The Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) is a neurophysiological test used to assess the functionality of the central auditory pathway, which includes structures from the auditory nerve to the rostral brainstem. The ABR provides a reading that measures hearing ability based on the electrical output from the different structures along the pathway. The waveforms in the results show the strength of the response and the time it takes for the auditory signal to travel between structures. Deviations in ABR output point to central auditory pathway dysfunction. These deviations can be used to diagnose neural hearing loss due to diseases, lesions, and tumors at various points within this system. The objective of this thesis is to discuss the history of the ABR and the various ways in which this procedure has been used in the medical field. The discussion will cover a variety of medical uses, with a particular focus on the implementation of the ABR in a universal hearing screening for newborns and the benefits it provides by allowing for early detection and intervention for children with hearing loss.