Enriched acoustic environment after noise trauma abolishes neural signs of tinnitus

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Noise-induced hearing loss induces reorganization of the tonotopic map in cat auditory cortex and increases spontaneous firing rate and neural synchrony. We showed previously that keeping cats after noise trauma in an acoustic environment enriched in high frequencies prevents tonotopic map reorganization. Here, we show the effects of low-frequency and high-frequency enriched acoustic environments on spontaneous firing rate and neural synchrony. Exposed cats placed in the quiet environment and in the low-frequency enriched acoustic environment showed increased spontaneous firing rate and synchrony of firing. In contrast, exposed cats placed in the high-frequency enriched acoustic environment did not show significant differences in spontaneous firing rate or synchrony compared with normal hearing controls. This is interpreted as an absence of putative neural signs of tinnitus.

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