Distortion product otoacoustic emissions in young adult and geriatric cats

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Recordings of distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) were taken from 15 geriatric cats (mean age ± standard deviation, SD, 13.6 ± 2.7 years; range 10.2-19.4 years) and 12 young adult control cats (mean ± SD 4.6 ± 0.5 years; range 3.4-5 years) to identify frequency-specific age-related changes in cochlear responses. Recordings were performed for primary frequencies from 2 to 12 kHz in 2 kHz increments. Cats were considered to be geriatric > 11.9 ± 1.9 years of age. Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) recordings were also made for subjective comparison with DPOAE responses. No differences in DPOAE response amplitudes were observed at any tested frequency in geriatric cats compared to control cats, reflecting an apparent absence of loss of cochlear outer hair cells along the length of the cochlea. No linear regression relationships were found for DPOAE response amplitude versus age in geriatric cats, despite the progressive nature of age-related hearing loss in other species. The absence of reductions in response at any of the tested frequencies in cats within the age span where cats are considered to be geriatric indicates that age-related hearing loss, if it does develop in cats, begins later in the life span of cats than in dogs or human beings.

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Veterinary journal (London, England : 1997)

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