ABSTRACT: We measured the auditory sensitivity of the barn owl (Tyto alba), using a behavioural Go/NoGo paradigm in two different age groups, one younger than 2 years (n = 4) and another more than 13 years of age (n = 3). In addition, we obtained thresholds from one individual aged 23 years, three times during its lifetime. For computing audiograms, we presented test frequencies of between 0.5 and 12 kHz, covering the hearing range of the barn owl. Average thresholds in quiet were below 0 dB sound pressure level (SPL) for frequencies between 1 and 10 kHz. The lowest mean threshold was -12.6 dB SPL at 8 kHz. Thresholds were the highest at 12 kHz, with a mean of 31.7 dB SPL. Test frequency had a significant effect on auditory threshold but age group had no significant effect. There was no significant interaction between age group and test frequency. Repeated threshold estimates over 21 years from a single individual showed only a slight increase in thresholds. We discuss the auditory sensitivity of barn owls with respect to other species and suggest that birds, which generally show a remarkable capacity for regeneration of hair cells in the basilar papilla, are naturally protected from presbycusis.
Project description:Lifestyle including smoking, noise exposure with MP3 player and drinking alcohol are considered as risk factors for affecting hearing synergistically. However, little is known about the association of cigarette smoking with hearing impairment among subjects who carry a lifestyle without using MP3 player and drinking alcohol. We showed here the influence of smoking on hearing among Bangladeshi subjects who maintain a lifestyle devoid of using MP3 player and drinking alcohol. A total of 184 subjects (smokers: 90; non-smokers: 94) were included considering their duration and frequency of smoking for conducting this study. The mean hearing thresholds of non-smoker subjects at 1, 4, 8 and 12 kHz frequencies were 5.63 ± 2.10, 8.56±5.75, 21.06 ± 11.06, 40.79 ± 20.36 decibel (dB), respectively and that of the smokers were 7 ± 3.8, 13.27 ± 8.4, 30.66 ± 12.50 and 56.88 ± 21.58 dB, respectively. The hearing thresholds of the smokers at 4, 8 and 12 kHz frequencies were significantly (p<0.05) higher than those of the non-smokers, while no significant differences were observed at 1 kHz frequency. We also observed no significant difference in auditory thresholds among smoker subgroups based on smoking frequency. In contrast, subjects smoked for longer duration (>5 years) showed higher level of auditory threshold (62.16 ± 19.87 dB) at 12 kHz frequency compared with that (41.52 ± 19.21 dB) of the subjects smoked for 1-5 years and the difference in auditory thresholds was statistically significant (p<0.0002). In this study, the Brinkman Index (BI) of smokers was from 6 to 440 and the adjusted odds ratio showed a positive correlation between hearing loss and smoking when adjusted for age and body mass index (BMI). In addition, age, but not BMI, also played positive role on hearing impairment at all frequencies. Thus, these findings suggested that cigarette smoking affects hearing level at all the frequencies tested but most significantly at extra higher frequencies.
Project description:Cochlear synaptic loss, rather than hair cell death, is the earliest sign of damage in both noise- and age-related hearing impairment (Kujawa and Liberman, 2009; Sergeyenko et al., 2013). Here, we compare cochlear aging after two types of noise exposure: one producing permanent synaptic damage without hair cell loss and another producing neither synaptopathy nor hair cell loss. Adult mice were exposed (8-16 kHz, 100 or 91 dB SPL for 2 h) and then evaluated from 1 h to ∼ 20 months after exposure. Cochlear function was assessed via distortion product otoacoustic emissions and auditory brainstem responses (ABRs). Cochlear whole mounts and plastic sections were studied to quantify hair cells, cochlear neurons, and the synapses connecting them. The synaptopathic noise (100 dB) caused 35-50 dB threshold shifts at 24 h. By 2 weeks, thresholds had recovered, but synaptic counts and ABR amplitudes at high frequencies were reduced by up to ∼ 45%. As exposed animals aged, synaptopathy was exacerbated compared with controls and spread to lower frequencies. Proportional ganglion cell losses followed. Threshold shifts first appeared >1 year after exposure and, by ∼ 20 months, were up to 18 dB greater in the synaptopathic noise group. Outer hair cell losses were exacerbated in the same time frame (∼ 10% at 32 kHz). In contrast, the 91 dB exposure, producing transient threshold shift without acute synaptopathy, showed no acceleration of synaptic loss or cochlear dysfunction as animals aged, at least to ∼ 1 year after exposure. Therefore, interactions between noise and aging may require an acute synaptopathy, but a single synaptopathic exposure can accelerate cochlear aging.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Pediatric vestibular evaluations incorporate cervical and ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potential (c- and oVEMP, respectively) testing; however, in children, c- and oVEMP thresholds have been minimally investigated and frequency tuning is unknown. Children are also at risk for unsafe sound exposure secondary to VEMP. While it is unknown if VEMP threshold testing leads to cochlear changes, it is possible that this risk increases due to the increased number of trials needed to obtain a threshold. Obtaining VEMP thresholds at various frequencies in children provides further information for pediatric normative VEMP data. Assessing for cochlear changes after VEMP threshold testing would provide information on the safety of threshold VEMP testing in children. The objectives of this study were to (1) characterize c- and oVEMP thresholds in children, adolescents, and young adults with normal hearing using 500 and 750 Hz tone burst (TB) stimuli, (2) compare frequency tuning of 500 and 750 Hz TB, and (3) assess whether cochlear changes exist after VEMP threshold testing. It is hypothesized that children, adolescents, and young adults would not show age-related changes to the vestibular system. Therefore, reliable VEMP thresholds would be seen below maximum acoustical stimulation levels (e.g., <125 dB SPL) and frequency tuning will be similar for 500 and 750 Hz TB stimuli. DESIGN:Ten children (age 4-9), 10 adolescents (age 10-19), and 10 young adults (age 20-29) with normal hearing and tympanometry participated. All subjects received c- and oVEMP testing at maximum stimulation and threshold. To address frequency tuning, but not exceed recommended sound exposure allowance, subjects received a 500 Hz TB stimulus in one ear and a 750 Hz TB stimulus in the other ear. Subjects completed tympanometry pre-VEMP, and audiometric threshold testing, distortion product otoacoustic emission testing, and subjective questionnaire pre- and post-VEMP to study the effect of VEMP exposure on cochlear function for each stimulus frequency. RESULTS:(1) cVEMP thresholds were determined for both stimulus frequencies for children (500 Hz = 106 dB SPL; 750 Hz = 106 dB SPL), adolescents (500 Hz = 107.5 dB SPL; 750 Hz = 109.5 dB SPL), and young adults (500 Hz = 111.5 dB SPL; 750 Hz = 112 dB SPL). oVEMP thresholds were also obtained in response to both stimulus frequencies for children (500 Hz = 111.1 dB SPL; 750 Hz = 112.2 dB SPL), adolescents (500 Hz = 112.5 dB SPL; 750 Hz = 114.5 dB SPL), and young adults (500 Hz = 116 dB SPL; 750 Hz = 117 dB SPL). Similar thresholds were found between groups except for children who had significantly lower thresholds compared with adults for cVEMP (500 Hz: p = 0.002; 750 Hz: p = 0.004) and oVEMP (500 Hz: p = 0.01; 750 Hz: p = 0.02). In addition, equivalent ear-canal volume and VEMP thresholds were linearly correlated. (2) There was no significant effect of stimulus frequency on VEMP response rates, latencies, peak to peak amplitudes, or thresholds, suggesting similar frequency tuning for 500 and 750 Hz. (3) There were no significant effects of VEMP threshold testing on cochlear function for either stimulus frequency. CONCLUSIONS:Children, adolescents, and young adults show VEMP thresholds below high stimulation levels and had similar frequency tuning between 500 and 750 Hz. Use of 750 Hz could be regarded as the safer stimuli due to its shorter duration and thus reduced sound exposure. Children with smaller ear-canal volume had present responses at maximum stimulation and lower thresholds, suggesting that VEMP testing could be initiated at lower acoustic levels to minimize sound exposure and optimize testing.
Project description:It has previously not been possible to measure eardrum vibration of human subjects in the region of auditory threshold. It is proposed that such measurements should provide information about the status of the mechanical amplifier in the cochlea. It is this amplifier that is responsible for our extraordinary hearing sensitivity. Here, we present results from a laser Doppler vibrometer that we designed to noninvasively probe cochlear mechanics near auditory threshold. This device enables picometer-sized vibration measurements of the human eardrum in vivo. With this sensitivity, we found the eardrum frequency response to be linear down to at least a 20-dB sound pressure level (SPL). Nonlinear cochlear amplification was evaluated with the cubic distortion product of the otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) in response to sound stimulation with two tones. DPOAEs originate from mechanical nonlinearity in the cochlea. For stimulus frequencies, f1 and f2, with f2/f1 = 1.2 and f2 = 4-9.5 kHz, and intensities L1 and L2, with L1 = 0.4L(2) + 39 dB and L2 = 20-65 dB SPL, the DPOAE displacement amplitudes were no more than 8 pm across subjects (n = 20), with hearing loss up to 16 dB. DPOAE vibration was nonlinearly dependent on vibration at f2. The dependence allowed the hearing threshold to be estimated objectively with high accuracy; the standard deviation of the threshold estimate was only 8.6 dB SPL. This device promises to be a powerful tool for differentially characterizing the mechanical condition of the cochlea and middle ear with high accuracy.
Project description:Here we show that mild hearing loss induced by noise exposure in early age causes a decrease in neural temporal resolution when measured in adulthood. We investigated the effect of this chronic hearing loss on the representation of a voice onset time (VOT) and a gap-duration continuum in primary auditory cortex (AI) in cats, which were exposed at the age of 6 weeks to a 120-dB SPL, 5-kHz 1/3 octave noise band for 2 h. The resulting hearing loss measured using auditory brainstem responses and cortical multiunit thresholds at 4-6 months of age was 20-40 dB between 1 and 32 kHz. Multiple single-unit activity was recorded in seven noise-exposed cats and nine control cats related to the presentation of a/ba/-/pa/ continuum in which VOT was varied in 5-ms step from 0 to 70 ms. We also obtained data for noise bursts with gaps, of duration equal to the VOT, embedded in noise 5 ms after the onset. Both stimuli were presented at 65 dB SPL. Minimum VOT and early-gap duration were defined as the lowest value in which an on-response, significantly above the spontaneous activity, to both the leading and trailing noise bursts or vowel was obtained. The mild chronic noise-induced hearing loss increased the minimum detectable VOT and gap duration by 10 ms. We also analyzed the maximum firing rate (FRmax) and the latency of the responses as a function of VOT and gap duration and found a significant reduction in the FRmax to the trailing noise burst for gap durations above 50 ms. This suggests that mild hearing loss acquired in early age may affect cortical temporal processing in adulthood.
Project description:DBA/2J (D2) mice, which exhibit very early progressive sensorineural hearing loss, were treated nightly with an augmented acoustic environment (AAE) initiated before the onset of hearing, and consisting of repetitive bursts of a 70-dB sound pressure level (SPL), 4-25 kHz noise band. At 55 days of age, AAE-treated mice exhibited less elevation of auditory brainstem response thresholds, fewer missing hair cells, and greatly reduced loss of anteroventral cochlear nucleus (AVCN) volume and neuron number compared to untreated control mice. It was hypothesized that the central neuroprotective effect was associated with increased afferent input to AVCN neurons evoked by the AAE as well as a healthier cochlea.
Project description:Electrophysiological feedback on activity in the auditory pathway may potentially advance the next generation of hearing aids. Conventional electroencephalographic (EEG) systems are, however, impractical during daily life and incompatible with hearing aids. Ear-EEG is a method in which the EEG is recorded from electrodes embedded in a hearing aid like earpiece. The method therefore provides an unobtrusive way of measuring neural activity suitable for use in everyday life. This study aimed to determine whether ear-EEG could be used to estimate hearing thresholds in subjects with sensorineural hearing loss. Specifically, ear-EEG was used to determine physiological thresholds at 0.5, 1, 2, and 4?kHz using auditory steady-state response measurements. To evaluate ear-EEG in relation to current methods, thresholds were estimated from a concurrently recorded conventional scalp EEG. The threshold detection rate for ear-EEG was 20% lower than the detection rate for scalp EEG. Thresholds estimated using in-ear referenced ear-EEG were found to be elevated at an average of 5.9, 2.3, 5.6, and 1.5?dB relative to scalp thresholds at 0.5, 1, 2, and 4?kHz, respectively. No differences were found in the variance of means between in-ear ear-EEG and scalp EEG. In-ear ear-EEG, auditory steady-state response thresholds were found at 12.1 to 14.4?dB sensation level with an intersubject variation comparable to that of behavioral thresholds. Collectively, it is concluded that although further refinement of the method is needed to optimize the threshold detection rate, ear-EEG is a feasible method for hearing threshold level estimation in subjects with sensorineural hearing impairment.
Project description:To estimate the short-term variability and correlates of variability in pure-tone thresholds obtained using audiometric equipment designed for occupational use, and to examine the justification for excluding 8 kHz as a mandatory threshold in occupational hearing conservation programs.Pure-tone thresholds and other hearing-related tests (e.g. noise dosimetry, otoscopy, middle-ear assessment) were conducted with a group of 527 adults between 20 and 69 years of age. Five measurement visits were completed by participants within 14 days.The 50% critical difference boundaries were - 5 and 0 dB at 4 kHz and below and - 5 and 5 dB at 6 and 8 kHz. The likelihood of spurious notches due to test-retest variability was substantially lower than the likelihood of failing to detect a notched configuration when present. Correlates of variability included stimulus frequency, baseline threshold, acoustic reflectance of the ear, average noise exposure during the previous eight hours, age, and the tester's level of education in audiology.The short-term variability in 8-kHz pure-tone thresholds obtained with the TDH-39P earphone was slightly greater than at other frequencies, but this difference was not large enough to justify the disadvantages stemming from the inability to detect a 6-kHz notch.
Project description:Our current knowledge on sound detection in fishes is mainly based on data acquired under quiet laboratory conditions. However, it is important to relate auditory thresholds to background noise in order to determine the signal-detecting abilities of animals in the natural environment. We investigated the influence of two noise levels within the naturally occurring range on the auditory sensitivity of two hearing specialists (otophysines) and a hearing generalist. Audiograms of the goldfish Carassius auratus, the lined Raphael catfish Platydoras costatus and the pumpkinseed sunfish Lepomis gibbosus (hearing generalist) were determined between 200 and 4000 Hz (100-800 Hz for L. gibbosus) under laboratory conditions and under continuous white noise by recording auditory evoked potentials (AEPs). Baseline thresholds showed greatest hearing sensitivity around 500 Hz in goldfish and catfish and at 100 Hz in the sunfish. Continuous white noise of 110 dB RMS elevated the thresholds by 15-20 dB in C. auratus and by 4-22 dB in P. costatus. White noise of 130 dB RMS elevated overall hearing thresholds significantly in the otophysines by 23-44 dB. In the goldfish, threshold did not shift at 4 kHz. In contrast, auditory thresholds in the sunfish declined only at the higher noise level by 7-11 dB. Our data show that the AEP recording technique is suitable for studying masking in fishes, and that the occurrence and degree of the threshold shift (masking) depend on the hearing sensitivity of fishes, the frequency, and noise levels tested. The results indicate that acoustic communication and orientation of fishes, in particular of hearing specialists, are limited by noise regimes in their environment.
Project description:This study examined the time course of cochlear suppression using a tone-burst suppressor to measure decrement of distortion-product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs). Seven normal-hearing subjects with ages ranging from 19 to 28 yr participated in the study. Each subject had audiometric thresholds ≤ 15 dB HL [re ANSI (2004) Specifications for Audiometers] for standard octave and inter-octave frequencies from 0.25 to 8 kHz. DPOAEs were elicited by primary tones with f(2) = 4.0 kHz and f(1) = 3.333 kHz (f(2)/f(1) = 1.2). For the f(2), L(2) combination, suppression was measured for three suppressor frequencies: One suppressor below f(2) (3.834 kHz) and two above f(2) (4.166 and 4.282 kHz) at three levels (55, 60, and 65 dB SPL). DPOAE decrement as a function of L(3) for the tone-burst suppressor was similar to decrements obtained with longer duration suppressors. Onset- and setoff- latencies were ≤ 4 ms, in agreement with previous physiological findings in auditory-nerve fiber studies that suggest suppression results from a nearly instantaneous compression of the waveform. Persistence of suppression was absent for the below-frequency suppressor (f(3) = 3.834 kHz) and was ≤ 3 ms for the two above-frequency suppressors (f(3) = 4.166 and 4.282 kHz).