Noise exposure at young age impairs the auditory object exploration behavior of rats in adulthood

Physiol Behav. 2008 Sep 3;95(1-2):229-34. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.06.005. Epub 2008 Jun 15.


Environment noise is ubiquitous in our daily life. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of postnatal exposure to moderate-level noise on the auditory object exploration behavior of adult rats by comparing the ability of three groups of rats to locate a sound source in a water maze. Two groups of rats, either in the critical period of hearing development or in adulthood, were exposed to 80 dB SPL interrupted white noise for 8 h per day for two weeks. The control group of rats was not exposed to the noise. The ability of the rats to locate a hidden platform that was situated near a sound source in a water maze was tested starting on postnatal day 77. A continuous improvement in the performance of control rats and rats exposed to noise in adulthood was observed during training, whereas rats exposed to noise at a young age exhibited a significantly worse performance. These findings indicated that long-term exposure of young rats to moderate-level noise caused significant impairment of their auditory object exploration behavior compared to exposure of adult animals to the same moderate-level noise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / adverse effects
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Auditory Perceptual Disorders / etiology*
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology*
  • Auditory Threshold / radiation effects
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Maze Learning / radiation effects
  • Noise / adverse effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Swimming