The brainstem-auditory-evoked-response (BAER) test is the only 100% reliable method for determining that a dog is deaf. More importantly, it can accurately detect dogs that are unilaterally deaf (deaf in just one ear). Bilaterally deaf dogs are usually easy to identify as they do not respond to any noises, including very loud or startling sounds. Unilateral deaf dogs are notoriously difficult to identify because they compensate very well for the loss of hearing in one ear. Dog breeding associations that recognize deafness as a problem in the breed have specific recommendations for breeding BAER-tested dogs.
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