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Abstract #3908

High pulse rate acoustic stimulation reduces fMRI responses in the auditory thalamus and cortex of chronic noise exposed rats

Condon Lau 1 , Jevin W Zhang 2 , and Ed X Wu 2

1 Department of Physics and Materials Science, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong, 2 Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong

Long-term acoustic noise exposure at moderate sound pressure levels (SPLs) (within occupational limits) can be detrimental to speech intelligibility by altering its spectrotemporal representation in the auditory system. To test this, we performed fMRI on adult rats exposed to 65dB SPL noise for two months. The results show noise exposure reduces fMRI signals in the auditory thalamus and cortex. The reduction is greater during 10 than 5Hz pulse rate acoustic stimulation. These findings are important for speech processing, which depends on accurate processing of sounds with a wide spectrum of rates.

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