Gap detection deficits in rats with tinnitus: a potential novel screening tool

Behav Neurosci. 2006 Feb;120(1):188-95. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.120.1.188.


The study describes a novel method for tinnitus screening in rats by use of gap detection reflex procedures. The authors hypothesized that if a background acoustic signal was qualitatively similar to the rat's tinnitus, poorer detection of a silent gap in the background would be expected. Rats with prior evidence of tinnitus at 10 kHz (n = 14) exhibited significantly worse gap detection than controls (n = 13) when the gap was embedded in a background similar to their tinnitus. No differences between tinnitus and control rats were found with 16 kHz or broadband noise backgrounds, which helped to rule out explanations related to hearing loss or general performance deficits. The results suggest that gap detection reflex procedures might be effective for rapid tinnitus screening in rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Signal Detection, Psychological / physiology*
  • Tinnitus / epidemiology*
  • Tinnitus / physiopathology*