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28 November 2016 : Laboratory Research  

Influence of Acoustic Overstimulation on the Central Auditory System: An Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Study

Tomasz Wolak1ABCDE, Katarzyna Cieśla1DEF*, Mateusz Rusiniak1CDE, Adam Piłka1ABCD, Monika Lewandowska1DEF, Agnieszka Pluta1DEF, Henryk Skarżyński1AF, Piotr H. Skarżyński12DEF

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.897929

Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:4623-4635


BACKGROUND: The goal of the fMRI experiment was to explore the involvement of central auditory structures in pathomechanisms of a behaviorally manifested auditory temporary threshold shift in humans.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The material included 18 healthy volunteers with normal hearing. Subjects in the exposure group were presented with 15 min of binaural acoustic overstimulation of narrowband noise (3 kHz central frequency) at 95 dB(A). The control group was not exposed to noise but instead relaxed in silence. Auditory fMRI was performed in 1 session before and 3 sessions after acoustic overstimulation and involved 3.5–4.5 kHz sweeps.

RESULTS: The outcomes of the study indicate a possible effect of acoustic overstimulation on central processing, with decreased brain responses to auditory stimulation up to 20 min after exposure to noise. The effect can be seen already in the primary auditory cortex. Decreased BOLD signal change can be due to increased excitation thresholds and/or increased spontaneous activity of auditory neurons throughout the auditory system.

CONCLUSIONS: The trial shows that fMRI can be a valuable tool in acoustic overstimulation studies but has to be used with caution and considered complimentary to audiological measures. Further methodological improvements are needed to distinguish the effects of TTS and neuronal habituation to repetitive stimulation.

Keywords: Auditory Cortex - physiology, Acoustics, Acoustic Stimulation, Auditory Fatigue - physiology, Auditory Threshold - physiology, Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem - physiology, Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced - pathology, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Noise, young adult


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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research eISSN: 2325-4416
Medical Science Monitor Basic Research eISSN: 2325-4416