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Hear Res. 2000 Jan;139(1-2):86-96.

Combined effects of noise and styrene exposure on hearing function in the rat.

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Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité, Laboratoire de Neurotoxicologie et Immunotoxicologie, Avenue de Bourgogne, P.O. Box 27, 54501, Vandoeuvre, France.


Combined exposure to both noise and aromatic solvents such as styrene is common in many industries. In order to study the combined effects of simultaneous exposure to both noise and styrene on hearing, male adult Long-Evans rats were exposed either to 750 ppm styrene alone, to a 97 dB SPL octave band of noise centered at 8 kHz, or to a combination of noise and styrene. The exposure duration was 6 h/day, 5 days/week, for 4 consecutive weeks. Auditory function was tested over a frequency range from 2 to 32 kHz by recording near field potentials from the inferior colliculus, whereas histopathological analyses of the cochleae were performed with conventional morphometric approaches. Whereas both noise and styrene each caused permanent threshold shifts, the mechanisms of cochlear damage were different. Noise-induced hearing loss was mainly related to injuries of the stereocilia, whereas styrene-induced hearing loss was related to outer hair cell losses. Following the combined exposure, the threshold elevations as well as the cell losses exceeded the summed loss caused by noise and by styrene alone in the range of 8-16 kHz. Therefore, these results suggest that the two ototoxicants can cause a permanent synergistic loss of auditory sensitivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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