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Hear Res. 2017 Apr;347:3-10. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2016.07.020. Epub 2016 Oct 13.

Developmental hearing loss impedes auditory task learning and performance in gerbils.

Author information

1
Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA. Electronic address: g.vontrapp@nyu.edu.
2
Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA.
3
Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA; Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA.
4
Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA; Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA; Department of Biology, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA.

Abstract

The consequences of developmental hearing loss have been reported to include both sensory and cognitive deficits. To investigate these issues in a non-human model, auditory learning and asymptotic psychometric performance were compared between normal hearing (NH) adult gerbils and those reared with conductive hearing loss (CHL). At postnatal day 10, before ear canal opening, gerbil pups underwent bilateral malleus removal to induce a permanent CHL. Both CHL and control animals were trained to approach a water spout upon presentation of a target (Go stimuli), and withhold for foils (Nogo stimuli). To assess the rate of task acquisition and asymptotic performance, animals were tested on an amplitude modulation (AM) rate discrimination task. Behavioral performance was calculated using a signal detection theory framework. Animals reared with developmental CHL displayed a slower rate of task acquisition for AM discrimination task. Slower acquisition was explained by an impaired ability to generalize to newly introduced stimuli, as compared to controls. Measurement of discrimination thresholds across consecutive testing blocks revealed that CHL animals required a greater number of testing sessions to reach asymptotic threshold values, as compared to controls. However, with sufficient training, CHL animals approached control performance. These results indicate that a sensory impediment can delay auditory learning, and increase the risk of poor performance on a temporal task.

KEYWORDS:

Amplitude modulation; Attention; Development; Hearing loss; Learning; Plasticity

PMID:
27746215
PMCID:
PMC5391307
DOI:
10.1016/j.heares.2016.07.020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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