Effects of noise overexposure on tone detection in noise in nonhuman primates

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Abstract

This report explores the consequences of acoustic overexposures on hearing in noisy environments for two macaque monkeys trained to perform a reaction time detection task using a Go/No-Go lever release paradigm. Behavioral and non-invasive physiological assessments were obtained before and after narrowband noise exposure. Physiological measurements showed elevated auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds and absent distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) post-exposure relative to pre-exposure. Audiograms revealed frequency specific increases in tone detection thresholds, with the greatest increases at the exposure band frequency and higher. Masked detection was affected in a similar frequency specific manner: threshold shift rates (change of masked threshold per dB increase in noise level) were lower than pre-exposure values at frequencies higher than the exposure band. Detection thresholds in sinusoidally amplitude modulated (SAM) noise post-exposure showed no difference from those in unmodulated noise, whereas pre-exposure masked detection thresholds were lower in the presence of SAM noise compared to unmodulated noise. These frequency-dependent results were correlated with cochlear histopathological changes in monkeys that underwent similar noise exposure. These results reveal that behavioral and physiological effects of noise exposure in macaques are similar to those seen in humans and provide preliminary information on the relationship between noise exposure, cochlear pathology and perceptual changes in hearing within individual subjects.

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