Dogs suffering from deafness can either be completely deaf in both ears (bilateral deafness) or completely deaf in one ear and able to hear normally in the other (unilateral deafness).
It is difficult to identify deafness in young puppies as they tend to react to vibrations or follow their litter mates.
A BAER (Brain stem Auditory Evoked Response) test, carried out by a specialist, is the only way to know for certain.
The best age to test a litter is around 5½ to 6½ weeks of age (ear canals don’t open until puppies are about 2 weeks old). The test can be carried out at any age after this, including on adult dogs.
Many breeders wish to know the hearing status of their pups before they go to their new homes. Also, at this age, puppies have an active period followed by a period of sleep, which is the perfect time to carry out the test.
Small probes are placed under the skin on the puppy/dog’s head with a ‘headphone’ over the ear which emits a clicking noise. This is connected to a computer which records the brain’s response. This is a non-invasive test and does not cause any pain or harm to the puppy/ dog.
On some occasions adult dogs will need to be sedated in order to keep them still during the test.
A BAER test is only required once in the dog’s lifetime.
A copy of the report from the specialist should be kept for your records.
Baer testing centres in the UK are listed below ( for further information see the KC website).
Hearing Assessment Clinic (Mobile)
Seadown Veterinary Hospital
1 Frost Lane,
Contact: K Morris MRCVS, 02380 842237
Small Animal Hospital
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Glasgow,
Contact: Mrs Gillian Calvo (VN), 0141 330 5848
125-129 Chertsey Road,
Contact: Ms Sue Fitzmaurice, 01483 729194,
Chapel House Veterinary Practice
Contact: Dr Dinu Catilina, 07403451743,
Slane Veterinary Clinic
Contact: Dr I Finney DVM MRCVS
Pride Veterinary Centre
Contact: 01332 678333
Hearing Clinic at Davies Veterinary Specialists
Manor Farm Business Park,
Contact: Julia Freeman, 01582 883950
The following veterinary practices can accommodate BAER testing and are all carried out by Mr David Godfrey. Appointments must be made directly with him by calling 07929 863 542 or
St George’s Veterinary Group
8 St George’s Parade,
Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital
West Bar Vet Hospital
19 West Bar,
Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
Walnut Tree Hospital,
608 Warwick Road,
Woodlands Veterinary Clinic