Outer hair cells in the mammalian cochlea and noise-induced hearing loss

Abstract

Hair cells in the mammalian cochlea transduce mechanical stimuli into electrical signals leading to excitation of auditory nerve fibres1. Because of their important role in hearing, these cells are a possible site for the loss of cochlear sensitivity that follows acoustic overstimulation2,3. We have recorded from inner and outer hair cells (IHC, OHC) in the guinea pig cochlea during and after exposure to intense tones. Our results show functional changes in the hair cells that may explain the origin of noise-induced hearing loss. Both populations of hair cells show a reduction in amplitude and an increase in the symmetry of their acoustically evoked receptor potentials. In addition, the OHCs also suffer a sustained depolarization of the membrane potential. Significantly, the membrane and receptor potentials of the OHCs recover in parallel with cochlear sensitivity as measured by the IHC receptor potential amplitude and the auditory nerve threshold. Current theories of acoustic transduction4–6 suggest that the mechanical input to IHCs may be regulated by the OHCs. Consequently, the modified function of OHCs after acoustic overstimulation may determine the extent of the hearing loss following loud sound.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Russell, I. J. & Sellick, P. M. J. Physiol., Lond. 284, 261–290 (1978).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Robertson, D. & Johnstone, B. M. Hearing Res. 3, 167–179 (1980).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Cody, A. R. & Johnstone, B. M. J. acoust. Soc. Am. 70, 707–711 (1981).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Weiss, T. F. Hearing Res. 7, 353–360 (1982).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Neely, S. T. & Kim, D. O. Hearing Res. 9, 123–130 (1983).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Russell, I. J. & Ashmore, J. F. Hearing—Physiological Basis and Psychophysics (eds Klinke, R. & Hartmann, R.) (Springer, Berlin, 1984).

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Russell, I. J. & Sellick, P. M. J. Physiol., Lond. 338, 179–206 (1083).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Davis, H. Laryngoscope 68, 359–382 (1958).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Dallos, P., Billone, M. C., Durrant, J. D., Wang, C. Y. & Raynor, S. Science 177, 356–358 (1972).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Russell, I. J. Nature 301, 334–336 (1983).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Lim, D. J. J. acoust. Soc. Am. 67, 1686–1695 (1980).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Brownell, W. E., Bader, C. R., Bertrand, D. & de Ribaupierre, Y. Science 227, 194–196 (1984).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Flock, A. Hearing—Physiological Basis and Psychophysics (eds Klinke, R. & Hartmann, R.) (Springer, Berlin, 1984).

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Tilney, L. G., Saunders, J. C., Egelman, E. & De Rosier, D. J. Hearing Res. 7, 181–197 (1982).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Miller, J., Canlon, B., Flock, A. & Borg, E. Assoc. Res. Otoloaryngol., 50 (1985).

  16. 16

    Flock, A. Assoc. Res. Otolaryngol., 175 (1985).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Cody, A., Russell, I. Outer hair cells in the mammalian cochlea and noise-induced hearing loss. Nature 315, 662–665 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1038/315662a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.