Characteristics of Temporary and Permanent Threshold Shifts in Vertebrates

  • James C. Saunders
  • Robert J. DoolingEmail author
Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 66)


Studies of noise-induced threshold shift to acoustic over exposure, conducted in the laboratory, employ a simple and rigorous paradigm. First, hearing is measured usually as a series of thresholds for pure tones distributed throughout the range of hearing. Then the subject is exposed to a loud sound, after which estimates of threshold are repeated. A difference between the pre- and postthreshold values represents the consequences of the sound exposure. From this approach, much is known about the effects of intense sound exposure on hearing. This chapter reviews the data on temporary and permanent threshold shifts. Examples of noise-induced threshold shift (NITS) are drawn from the extensive animal literature obtained from a mammal (chinchilla) and several avian (budgerigar and chicken chick) species. The conclusions from these examples is that when the parameters of exposure are well characterized and thresholds carefully determined, a set of reliable and valid observations on the magnitude and duration of NITS emerge. Most importantly, certain aspects of hearing loss appear to be consistent across species. Given that a set of repeatable patterns of NITS are known, it is suggested that meaningful predictions can be made on the susceptibility of hearing loss in wild animals exposed to noise in natural environments. This suggestion assumes that the parameters of the exposure such as the sound pressure level and duration are reasonably well-known. The validity of these estimates has limitations and these are also considered.


Adaptation Asymptotic threshold shift Continuous exposure Decibel Fatigue Hearing loss Impulse/impact exposure Intermittent exposure Noise-induced threshold shift Permanent threshold shift recovery Sound field Sound pressure level Temporary threshold shift Threshold shift 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryThe Perelman School of Medicine, University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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