Impact noise: The importance of level, duration, and repetition rate

Donald Henderson, Malini Subramaniam, Michael Anne Gratton, Samuel S. Saunders

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The applicability of the equal energy hypothesis (EEH) to impact noise exposures was studied using chinchillas. Hearing thresholds were estimated by recording the evoked potentials from a chronic electrode implanted in the inferior colliculus. The animals were exposed to broadband impacts of 200-ms duration. The study was carried out in two parts. In experiment I, six exposure levels (107, 113, 119, 125, 131, and 137 dB SPL) and three repetition rates (4/s, 1/s and 1/4 s) were employed. In the second experiment, the total duration of the exposure as well as the total energy were kept constant by trading level and rate. Results indicate that hearing loss resulting from exposure to impact noise does not conform to the predictions of the EEH. The permanent threshold shift as well as the hair cell loss are more or less equal across the lower peak exposure levels. However, both the hearing loss and the hair cell damage increase for exposures with higher peak levels. Furthermore, hearing loss and cochlear damage are dependent upon the rate of exposure. Thus the amount of hearing loss and hair cell damage appears to depend on the interaction of several factors including peak level, rate, and the susceptibility of the animal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1350-1357
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1991


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