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Hear Res. 1997 Oct;112(1-2):216-34.

Distortion product otoacoustic emissions in the C57BL/6J mouse model of age-related hearing loss.

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Department of Surgery, The School of Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington 06030-1110, USA.


One of the earliest histopathological changes associated with age-related hearing loss appears to be the disruption of outer hair cells (OHCs). To evaluate age-related changes in OHC function, distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) were recorded in the young and aging C57BL/6J mouse. Starting in young adulthood, the C57 mouse displays age-related elevation of auditory brainstem response thresholds, beginning in the high frequencies and progressing toward lower frequencies. The 2f1-f2 DPOAEs of mice between 2 and 20 months of age were examined for f2s between 8 and 16 kHz. In this octave region, the features of 2f1-f2 DPOAEs in the 2-month-old C57 mouse were comparable to those described for non-murine rodents in the literature in terms of optimum f2/f1 ratio, optimum primary level difference, input/output (I/O) function features and microstructure. It was determined that f2/f1 = 1.2 and L1-L2 = 20 dB were optimal stimulus parameters for investigation of the effects of age on C57 DPOAEs. Age-related changes in DPOAE I/O functions consisted of a right shift (i.e. increased DPOAE detection thresholds), disappearance of 'notches' and shallowing of the slopes after 8 months of age. As DPOAE I/O functions continued to shift to the right and DPOAE levels decreased with age, the appearance of I/O functions became complex to include regions of steep or shallow slopes and plateaus. The present results suggest that the age-related elevation of auditory thresholds in the C57 mice is associated with substantial progressive changes in OHC function.

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