Behavioral and neural measures of auditory temporal acuity in aging humans and mice

Neurobiol Aging. Jul-Aug 2002;23(4):565-78. doi: 10.1016/s0197-4580(02)00008-8.


Three experiments compared auditory temporal acuity in humans and in the behavior and single cells in the inferior colliculus (IC) of mice, to establish the comparability of aging effects on temporal acuity across species, and to suggest a neural foundation. The thresholds for silent gaps placed in white noise (MGTs) were similar in young mice and young humans, and increased in some but not all old humans and old mice. Neural MGT in the most sensitive cells of both young and old mice was comparable to behavioral MGT in the young of both species, but older mice had more cells with very high MGT. Human listeners were selected to have minimal absolute hearing loss. Older mice had significant hearing loss that was correlated with MGT in behavioral, but not in neural, measures. Some old mice and some old IC cells, however, had low MGTs coupled with elevated absolute hearing thresholds. Age-related changes in temporal acuity appear comparable in humans and mice. The data suggest a common deficit in neural mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Psychophysics
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Perception / physiology*