The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of concomitant exposure to noise and alcohol on the auditory thresholds. Twenty-four guinea pigs were equally divided into three groups: the acute intoxication group, the chronic intoxication group and the control group. Animals in the acute group received single intraperitoneal injections of ethanol (2 g/kg). In the chronic group, alcohol was administered via drinking water (10%, v/v) over a 60-day period. All animals were exposed to a white noise at the intensity of 105 dB A for 30 min. Auditory brainstem response (ABR) thresholds and distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) levels were measured before, immediately after noise exposure and also 1, 2, and 7 days following exposure. The results showed: first, acute alcohol injection caused a significant, temporary elevation of ABR threshold (4.8 dB in average), while chronic alcohol treatment did not change auditory threshold significantly. Second, noise exposure induced a mean threshold shift of 15.4– 19.7 dB. ABR threshold returned to normal 2 days after exposure. Both acute and chronic alcohol treatment did not alter the magnitude and time course of recovery of the temporary threshold shift (TTS). Third, the mean DPOAE amplitudes decreased at most frequencies following acute injection of alcohol. However, the differences did not reach statistical significance. Fourth, the mean DPOAE levels dropped 3.4–9.6 dB in all groups after noise exposure and returned to normal 1 day to 2 days after noise. There were no significant differences in the amount of DPOAE suppression after noise between the three groups. In summary, we have found that acute and chronic treatment of alcohol in combination with noise did not significantly exacerbate TTS or decrease DPOAE amplitudes relative to noise exposure alone.

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