Interest in bone-conducted stimulus auditory brainstem response (BC-ABR) testing has centered around evaluation of cochlear integrity in neonates and in patients who are difficult to evaluate audiometrically. The present study was designed to evaluate the Wave I component of the BC-ABR and to determine the utility of this response in assessment of cochlear reserve. The source of Wave I has been shown to be the distal eighth nerve. It was postulated that the presence or absence of this component would provide ear specific information useful for determination of cochlear integrity. In order to test this hypothesis, patients with a documented unilateral hearing loss were studied. Stimulus presentation was via the Radioear B-70 bone vibrator used in conventional audiometric assessment. Evoked potential responses were recorded at four presentation levels. Subjects had either normal hearing bilaterally or normal hearing in one ear and a mild-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss in the opposite ear. Our data indicate that the Wave I response, when measured in this fashion, is ear specific. Ear specificity was shown to be aided by good waveform morphology, as typically observed in younger subjects, and by a relatively large discrepancy in hearing thresholds between the normal and hearing-impaired ears. This technique may be of value in determination of cochlear reserve in patients with problematic masking dilemmas.