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Am J Otol. 1994 Sep;15(5):588-95.

Effect of profound hearing loss on a central auditory nucleus.

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House Ear Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90057, USA.


The present study was designed to investigate the type and extent of degeneration occurring in the human central auditory system subsequent to profound hearing loss. The authors have examined the size of one population of neurons in the ventral cochlear nucleus in seven subjects with profound hearing loss (audiometric responses poorer than 90-100 dB HL). Six normal subjects, ages 35-78, were used as controls. Cell size in the hearing-impaired subjects ranged from normal to reduced by more than 50 percent. Two factors appear to contribute to the variability in cell size reduction. The correlation coefficient (Spearman rs) of cell size with duration of profound deafness was -0.48, indicating a moderate tendency for neurons to become smaller with longer periods of deafness. The correlation coefficient of cell size with number of surviving cochlear ganglion cells was 0.73, indicating a stronger tendency for neurons to be larger with greater eighth nerve innervation of the cochlear nucleus. Two cases of Scheibe degeneration showed the most severe degenerative change in the central auditory system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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