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Hear Res. 2000 Oct;148(1-2):9-17.

Effects of industrial noise exposure on distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) and hair cell loss of the cochlea--long term experiments in awake guinea pigs.

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  • 1Institute of Physiology I, Department of Neurophysiology, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany.


Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs), a sensitive detector of outer hair cell (OHC) function, cochlear microphonics (CM), and hair cell loss have been monitored in 12 awake guinea pigs before and after 2 h exposure to specific, played-back industrial noise (105 dB SPL maximal intensity). All animals had stable DPOAE levels before noise exposure. In the first hours after noise exposure DPOAE levels were reduced significantly. In about 70% a partial recovery of the DPOAEs was found within 4 months after noise exposure. In 16% of the investigated ears no recovery of DPOAEs was observed. However, in a few ears increased DPOAEs were observed after noise exposure. Exposure to industrial noise caused both morphological changes in the middle turns of the cochlea and electrophysiological changes in the middle frequency range. A close correlation existed between reduced DPOAE levels, loss in CM potentials, and area of damaged or lost OHCs, but not with the numbers of damaged or lost OHCs in the cochlea. It can be concluded that continuous industrial noise causes a damage to OHCs which differs form the damage caused by impulse noise.

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