Send to

Choose Destination
Hear Res. 2003 Apr;178(1-2):70-8.

Cochlear damage caused by continuous and intermittent noise exposure.

Author information

Department of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, 113-8655, Tokyo, Japan.


We compared the extent of permanent threshold shifts (PTS) and cochlear hair cell damage caused by continuous noise exposure with those caused by intermittent noise exposure. Twenty male pigmented guinea pigs that had been exposed to a one-octave band of noise at 4 kHz for 5 h were placed in four groups: exposure to 115 dB SPL continuous noise (group 1, n=5), 115 dB SPL intermittent noise (group 2, n=5), 125 dB SPL continuous noise (group 3, n=5), and 125 dB SPL intermittent noise (group 4, n=5). PTS at 2, 4, 8, and 16 kHz were assessed by means of auditory brainstem responses measured before noise exposure and 10 days after. The guinea pigs were killed 15 days after noise exposure, and the number of hair cells missing counted in surface preparations of the organs of Corti stained with rhodamine phalloidin. Groups 1 and 3 had significantly greater PTS (P<0.05) at all frequencies than intermittent groups 2 and 4. Group 3 had the greatest PTS at all the frequencies. Intermittent 125 dB noise total energy was greater than that of continuous 115 dB noise, but the latter elicited more PTS than the former. The extent of hair cell damage was comparable to the physiological findings. This indicates that continuous noise causes greater damage to the cochlea than intermittent noise of the same intensity and that, at the intensities tested, damage to the cochlea is not proportional to the total noise energy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center