Big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) successfully navigate through clutter after exposure to intense band-limited sound.
ABSTRACT: Echolocating big brown bats fly, orient, forage, and roost in cluttered acoustic environments in which aggregate sound pressure levels can be as intense as 100 to 140?dB SPL, levels that would impair auditory perception in other terrestrial mammals. We showed previously that bats exposed to intense wide-band sound (116?dB SPL) can navigate successfully through dense acoustic clutter. Here, we extend these results by quantifying performance of bats navigating through a cluttered scene after exposure to intense band-limited sounds (bandwidths 5-25?kHz, 123?dB SPL). Behavioral performance was not significantly affected by prior sound exposure, with the exception of one bat after exposure to one sound. Even in this outlying case, performance recovered rapidly, by 10?min post-exposure. Temporal patterning of biosonar emissions during successful flights showed that bats maintained their individual strategies for navigating through the cluttered scene before and after exposures. In unsuccessful flights, interpulse intervals were skewed towards shorter values, suggesting a shift in strategy for solving the task rather than a hearing impairment. Results confirm previous findings that big brown bats are not as susceptible to noise-induced perceptual impairments as are other terrestrial mammals exposed to sounds of similar intensity and bandwidth.
Project description:Big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) emit trains of brief, wideband frequency-modulated (FM) echolocation sounds and use echoes of these sounds to orient, find insects, and guide flight through vegetation. They are observed to emit sounds that alternate between short and long inter-pulse intervals (IPIs), forming sonar sound groups. The occurrence of these strobe groups has been linked to flight in cluttered acoustic environments, but how exactly bats use sonar sound groups to orient and navigate is still a mystery. Here, the production of sound groups during clutter navigation was examined. Controlled flight experiments were conducted where the proximity of the nearest obstacles was systematically decreased while the extended scene was kept constant. Four bats flew along a corridor of varying widths (100, 70, and 40 cm) bounded by rows of vertically hanging plastic chains while in-flight echolocation calls were recorded. Bats shortened their IPIs for more rapid spatial sampling and also grouped their sounds more tightly when flying in narrower corridors. Bats emitted echolocation calls with progressively shorter IPIs over the course of a flight, and began their flights by emitting shorter starting IPI calls when clutter was denser. The percentage of sound groups containing 3 or more calls increased with increasing clutter proximity. Moreover, IPI sequences having internal structure become more pronounced when corridor width narrows. A novel metric for analyzing the temporal organization of sound sequences was developed, and the results indicate that the time interval between echolocation calls depends heavily on the preceding time interval. The occurrence of specific IPI patterns were dependent upon clutter, which suggests that sonar sound grouping may be an adaptive strategy for coping with pulse-echo ambiguity in cluttered surroundings.
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:Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a major public health issue worldwide. Uncovering the early molecular events associated with NIHL would reveal mechanisms leading to the hearing loss. Our aim is to investigate the immediate molecular responses after different levels of noise exposure and identify the common and distinct pathways that mediate NIHL. Previous work showed mice exposed to 116 decibels sound pressure level (dB SPL) broadband noise for 1 h had greater threshold shifts than the mice exposed to 110 dB SPL broadband noise, hence we used these two noise levels in this study. Groups of 4-8-week-old CBA/CaJ mice were exposed to no noise (control) or to broadband noise for 1 h, followed by transcriptome analysis of total cochlear RNA isolated immediately after noise exposure. Previously identified and novel genes were found in all data sets. Following exposure to noise at 116 dB SPL, the earliest responses included up-regulation of 243 genes and down-regulation of 61 genes, while a similar exposure at 110 dB SPL up-regulated 155 genes and down-regulated 221 genes. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling was the major pathway in both levels of noise exposure. Nevertheless, both qualitative and quantitative differences were noticed in some MAPK signaling genes, after exposure to different noise levels. Cacna1b , Cacna1g , and Pla2g6 , related to calcium signaling were down-regulated after 110 dB SPL exposure, while the fold increase in the expression of Fos was relatively lower than what was observed after 116 dB SPL exposure. These subtle variations provide insight on the factors that may contribute to the differences in NIHL despite the activation of a common pathway.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Accurate data on the sound emitted by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) coils is lacking. METHODS:We recorded the sound waveforms of seven coils with high bandwidth. We estimated the neural stimulation strength by measuring the induced electric field and applying a strength-duration model to account for different waveforms. RESULTS:Across coils, at maximum stimulator output and 25 cm distance, the sound pressure level (SPL) was 98-125 dB(Z) per pulse and 76-98 dB(A) for a 20 Hz pulse train. At 5 cm distance, these values were estimated to increase to 112-139 dB(Z) and 90-112 dB(A), respectively. CONCLUSIONS:The coils' airborne sound can exceed some exposure limits for TMS subjects and, in some cases, for operators. These findings are consistent with the current TMS safety guidelines that recommend the use of hearing protection.
Project description:Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a non-invasive brain imaging technique that measures changes in oxygenated and de-oxygenated hemoglobin concentration and can provide a measure of brain activity. In addition to neural activity, fNIRS signals contain components that can be used to extract physiological information such as cardiac measures. Previous studies have shown changes in cardiac activity in response to different sounds. This study investigated whether cardiac responses collected using fNIRS differ for different loudness of sounds. fNIRS data were collected from 28 normal hearing participants. Cardiac response measures evoked by broadband, amplitude-modulated sounds were extracted for four sound intensities ranging from near-threshold to comfortably loud levels (15, 40, 65 and 90 dB Sound Pressure Level (SPL)). Following onset of the noise stimulus, heart rate initially decreased for sounds of 15 and 40 dB SPL, reaching a significantly lower rate at 15 dB SPL. For sounds at 65 and 90 dB SPL, increases in heart rate were seen. To quantify the timing of significant changes, inter-beat intervals were assessed. For sounds at 40 dB SPL, an immediate significant change in the first two inter-beat intervals following sound onset was found. At other levels, the most significant change appeared later (beats 3 to 5 following sound onset). In conclusion, changes in heart rate were associated with the level of sound with a clear difference in response to near-threshold sounds compared to comfortably loud sounds. These findings may be used alone or in conjunction with other measures such as fNIRS brain activity for evaluation of hearing ability.
Project description:Nocturnal insects have evolved ultrasound-sensitive hearing in response to predation pressures from echolocating insectivorous bats. Flying tympanate moths take various evasive actions when they detect bat cries, including turning away, performing a steering/zigzagging flight and ceasing flight. In general, infrequent ultrasonic pulses with low sound intensities that are emitted by distant bats evoke slight turns, whereas frequent and loud ultrasonic pulses of nearby bats evoke erratic or rapid unpredictable changes in the flight path of a moth. Flight cessation, which is a freezing response that causes the moth to passively dive (drop) to the ground, is considered the ultimate last-ditch evasive behaviour against approaching bats where there is a high predation threat. Here, we found that the crambid moth Nomophila nearctica never performed passive dives in response to frequent and loud ultrasonic pulses of >60 dB sound pressure level (SPL) that simulated the attacking echolocation call sequence of the predominant sympatric insectivorous bat Eptesicus fuscus, but rather turned away or flew erratically, regardless of the temporal structure of the stimulus. Consequently, N. nearctica is likely to survive predation by bats by taking early evasive action even when it detects the echolocation calls of sympatric bats hunting other insects at a distance. Since aerially hawking bats can track and catch erratically flying moths after targeting their prey, this early escape strategy may be common among night-flying tympanate insects.
Project description:The inner ear can be permanently damaged by overexposure to high-level noise; however, damage can be decreased by previous exposure to moderate level, nontraumatic noise (). The mechanism of this "protective" effect is unclear, but a role for heat shock proteins has been suggested. The aim of the present study was to directly test protective effects of heat stress in the ear. For physiological experiments, CBA/CaJ mice were exposed to an intense octave band of noise (8-16 kHz) at 100 dB SPL for 2 hr, either with or without previous whole-body heat stress (rectal temperature to 41. 5 degrees C for 15 min). The interval between heat stress and sound exposure varied in different groups from 6 to 96 hr. One week later, inner ear function was assessed in each animal via comparison of compound action potential thresholds to mean values from unexposed controls. Permanent threshold shifts (PTSs) were approximately 40 dB in the group sound-exposed without previous heat stress. Heat-stressed animals were protected from acoustic injury: mean PTS in the group with 6 hr heat-stress-trauma interval was reduced to approximately 10 dB. This heat stress protection disappeared when the treatment-trauma interval surpassed 24 hr. A parallel set of quantitative PCR experiments measured heat-shock protein mRNA in the cochlea and showed 100- to 200-fold increase over control 30 min after heat treatment, with levels returning to baseline at 6 hr after treatment. Results are consistent with the idea that upregulation of heat shock proteins protects the ear from acoustic injury.
Project description:We are routinely exposed to low frequency noise (LFN; below 0.5 kHz) at moderate levels of 60-70 dB sound pressure level (SPL) generated from various sources in occupational and daily environments. LFN has been reported to affect balance in humans. However, there is limited information about the influence of chronic exposure to LFN at moderate levels for balance. In this study, we investigated whether chronic exposure to LFN at a moderate level of 70 dB SPL affects the vestibule, which is one of the organs responsible for balance in mice. Wild-type ICR mice were exposed for 1 month to LFN (0.1 kHz) and high frequency noise (HFN; 16 kHz) at 70 dB SPL at a distance of approximately 10-20 cm. Behavior analyses including rotarod, beam-crossing and footprint analyses showed impairments of balance in LFN-exposed mice but not in non-exposed mice or HFN-exposed mice. Immunohistochemical analysis showed a decreased number of vestibular hair cells and increased levels of oxidative stress in LFN-exposed mice compared to those in non-exposed mice. Our results suggest that chronic exposure to LFN at moderate levels causes impaired balance involving morphological impairments of the vestibule with enhanced levels of oxidative stress. Thus, the results of this study indicate the importance of considering the risk of chronic exposure to LFN at a moderate level for imbalance.
Project description:Understanding female mate preference is important for determining the strength and direction of sexual trait evolution. The sound pressure level (SPL) acoustic signalers use is often an important predictor of mating success because higher sound pressure levels are detectable at greater distances. If females are more attracted to signals produced at higher sound pressure levels, then the potential fitness impacts of signalling at higher sound pressure levels should be elevated beyond what would be expected from detection distance alone. Here we manipulated the sound pressure level of cricket mate attraction signals to determine how female phonotaxis was influenced. We examined female phonotaxis using two common experimental methods: spherical treadmills and open arenas. Both methods showed similar results, with females exhibiting greatest phonotaxis towards loud sound pressure levels relative to the standard signal (69 vs. 60 dB SPL) but showing reduced phonotaxis towards very loud sound pressure level signals relative to the standard (77 vs. 60 dB SPL). Reduced female phonotaxis towards supernormal stimuli may signify an acoustic startle response, an absence of other required sensory cues, or perceived increases in predation risk.
Project description:Mines and caves provide essential roosting places for bats, but often they are obstructed to prevent entry by humans. To allow bats to access their roosts, metal corrugated culvert pipes are sometimes installed. Wildlife surveys indicate, however, that bats may abandon caves having corrugated culvert entrances. Culverts may be confusing to bats due to the complex patterns of echoes returned by the regular, ring-like corrugations. We tested the hypothesis that a circular tunnel composed of successive hoops is difficult for big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) to navigate. Experiments challenged bats with flights through a tunnel of round plastic hoops or a corridor flanked left and right by rows of plastic hanging chains. The bats swerved sideways and left the pathway on more flights in the hoop tunnel compared to only rarely in the chain corridor. Even during successful flights through the hoops, bats changed the temporal patterning of their echolocation pulses to compress them into more sonar sound groups. From prior research, this active reaction is an indicator of a perceptually more difficult task. To allow bats access to mines through culverts without affecting their echolocation behavior, smoothing or masking the regular corrugations inside with concrete may be effective.