Threshold shifts and enhancement of cortical evoked responses after noise exposure in rats

Hear Res. 2000 Jan;139(1-2):59-68. doi: 10.1016/s0378-5955(99)00175-6.


The effect of exposure to various types of noise (broadband, high-frequency or low-frequency) was studied in adult pigmented rats. Thresholds and amplitudes of middle latency responses (MLR) recorded from electrodes implanted on the surface of the auditory cortex were analyzed before and after noise exposure. Exposure to noise with intensities ranging from 105 to 120 dB for 1 h produced only temporary threshold shifts (TTS). Exposure to broadband noise produced TTS throughout the whole frequency range of the rat's hearing, mostly expressed at frequencies of maximal hearing sensitivity (16-32 kHz). Hearing loss produced by high- or low-frequency noise exposure was related to the spectral characteristics of the noise. The exposure to high-intensity noise may also result in amplitude enhancement of the MLR. This phenomenon was seen mainly after broadband noise exposure and occurred in response to both low-frequency and high-frequency test stimuli. High-frequency and low-frequency noise produced amplitude enhancement mainly at frequencies which corresponded to the maximum exposure energy. In contrast to the relatively similar values of TTS obtained in different rats under the same conditions of noise exposure, great inter-individual variability was found in the MLR amplitude enhancement. In all rats the dynamics of recovery functions for amplitude enhancement were different from those for MLR thresholds. The data indicate that whereas post-exposure TTS are related to peripheral changes, the post-exposure MLR amplitude enhancement is most probably connected with a change in the processing of auditory information in the central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / physiopathology*
  • Noise / adverse effects*
  • Rats