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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3026749, 10 pages
Research Article

Long-Term Impairment of Sound Processing in the Auditory Midbrain by Daily Short-Term Exposure to Moderate Noise

1School of Life Sciences and Hubei Key Lab of Genetic Regulation and Integrative Biology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China
2School of Psychology and Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior, Ministry of Education, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China
3Institute of Public Health and Molecular Medicine Analysis, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Xiao-Mei Liao

Received 21 September 2016; Revised 12 December 2016; Accepted 5 January 2017; Published 14 May 2017

Academic Editor: Malgorzata Kossut

Copyright © 2017 Liang Cheng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Most citizen people are exposed daily to environmental noise at moderate levels with a short duration. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of daily short-term exposure to moderate noise on sound level processing in the auditory midbrain. Sound processing properties of auditory midbrain neurons were recorded in anesthetized mice exposed to moderate noise (80 dB SPL, 2 h/d for 6 weeks) and were compared with those from age-matched controls. Neurons in exposed mice had a higher minimum threshold and maximum response intensity, a longer first spike latency, and a higher slope and narrower dynamic range for rate level function. However, these observed changes were greater in neurons with the best frequency within the noise exposure frequency range compared with those outside the frequency range. These sound processing properties also remained abnormal after a 12-week period of recovery in a quiet laboratory environment after completion of noise exposure. In conclusion, even daily short-term exposure to moderate noise can cause long-term impairment of sound level processing in a frequency-specific manner in auditory midbrain neurons.