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Maier, Julia K.; Kindermann, Teresa; Grothe, Benedikt ORCID: 0000-0001-7317-0615; Klump, Georg M. (2008): Effects of omni-directional noise-exposure during hearing onset and age on auditory spatial resolution in the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) - a behavioral approach. In: Brain Research, Vol. 1220: pp. 47-57
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Inhibitory inputs to the binaural brainstem nuclei medial and lateral superior olives (MSO and LSO, respectively) are thought to be important for sound localization in mammals. Here, we investigate whether aged gerbils that typically exhibit degenerative changes in auditory nuclei providing inhibition to MSO and LSO show diminished localization ability. We also tested the localization ability in gerbils reared in omni-directional white noise during hearing onset, a treatment that affects the adjustment of inhibitory inputs to MSO neurons possibly resulting in weakened sensitivity to interaural time difference. Localization ability of both groups was compared to that of young gerbils raised under control conditions. Stimuli had a duration of 125 ms and were pure tones of 0.5,1, 2, 4 and 8 kHz, 300-Hz-bands of noise centered at 0.5, 2 and 8 kHz or broad-band noise. Gerbils trained in a two-alternative-forced-choice procedure indicated if sounds were presented from the left or from the right by choosing the respective response compartment of a Y-shaped experimental setup. The minimum resolvable angle (MRA) was calculated as the minimum angle between two loudspeaker locations that a gerbil was able to discriminate. MRAs for aged gerbils were higher compared to controls, whereas MRAs of noise-reared gerbils did not differ from those of the control group. Results are discussed with respect to the progressive degeneration affecting the gerbil's auditory system, changes in the anatomical arrangement of inhibitory inputs on binaural neurons in the MSO, and hearing thresholds. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.