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

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

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School of Life Science, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China.


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.

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