Identification of induced and naturally occurring conductive hearing loss in mice using bone conduction

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While many mouse models of hearing loss have been described, a significant fraction of the genetic defects in these models affect both the inner ear and middle ears. A common method used to separate inner-ear (sensory-neural) from middle-ear (conductive) pathologies in the hearing clinic is the combination of air-conduction and bone-conduction audiometry. In this report, we investigate the use of air- and bone-conducted evoked auditory brainstem responses to perform a similar separation in mice. We describe a technique by which we stimulate the mouse ear both acoustically and via whole-head vibration. We investigate the sensitivity of this technique to conductive hearing loss by introducing middle-ear lesions in normal hearing mice. We also use the technique to investigate the presence of an age-related conductive hearing loss in a common mouse model of presbycusis, the BALB/c mouse.

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