Increased resistance to free radical damage induced by low-level sound conditioning

Hear Res. 2006 Mar;213(1-2):118-29. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2005.11.012. Epub 2006 Feb 8.


Conditioning is the phenomenon where exposure to moderate-level acoustic stimuli can increase the ear's resistance to subsequent more intense sound exposures. In recent years, research has shown that conditioning increases the availability of antioxidant enzymes which presumably protects the ear from oxidative stress induced by a traumatic noise exposure [Jacono, A.A., Hu, B., Kopke, R.D., Henderson, D., Van De Water, T.R., Steinman, H.M., 1998. Changes in cochlear antioxidant enzyme activity after sound conditioning and noise exposure in the chinchilla. Hear Res 117, 31-8]. The current study was designed to assess whether the increase in endogenous antioxidants seen following conditioning could provide protection from oxidative stress induced by Paraquat, a potent generator of superoxide. Chinchillas were exposed to a conditioning noise, 500 Hz OBN at 95 dB for 6 h/day for 10 days, followed 5 days later with Paraquat application to the round window. Controls underwent the Paraquat application surgery, without prior conditioning. Evoked potential thresholds were determined prior to conditioning, at day 1, 5 and 10 during conditioning, at day 15 (5 days after conditioning), and at day 17, 19, 23, and 35 (1, 3, 7, and 20 days post-Paraquat). The conditioned animals showed reductions in permanent threshold shift and reduced inner hair cell loss relative to controls. These results reinforce the hypothesis that antioxidants are primary mediators of the conditioning effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Auditory Threshold / drug effects
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology
  • Chinchilla
  • Cochlea / enzymology*
  • Cochlea / physiology
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory
  • Free Radical Scavengers / metabolism
  • Free Radicals / adverse effects
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / chemically induced
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / etiology*
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / prevention & control
  • Herbicides / toxicity
  • Noise / adverse effects
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Paraquat / toxicity
  • Superoxides / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Free Radicals
  • Herbicides
  • Superoxides
  • Paraquat