Noise-induced hearing loss can alter neural coding and increase excitability in the central nervous system

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Science  18 Jun 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4552, pp. 1331-1334
DOI: 10.1126/science.7079767


Responses of auditory neurons in the inferior colliculi of mice were studied longitudinally before and shortly after each animal was exposed to intense noise. Noise exposure caused expected losses in auditory sensitivity, but in 31 percent of the neurons studied, unexpected alterations of temporal patterns of action potentials were observed: certain suprathreshold stimuli that had evoked only transient "onset" responses or inhibition of spontaneous discharges prior to noise exposure came to elicit sustained excitation after exposure. Thus, noise-induced hearing loss can be associated with increases in neural responsivity and alterations of normal neural coding processes.

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