The auditory brainstem response (ABR) is an invaluable assay in clinical audiology, non-human animals, and human research. Despite the widespread use of ABRs in measuring auditory neural synchrony and estimating hearing sensitivity in other vertebrate model systems, methods for recording ABRs in the chicken have not been reported in nearly four decades. Chickens provide a robust animal research model because their auditory system is near functional maturation during late embryonic and early hatchling stages. We have demonstrated methods used to elicit one or two-channel ABR recordings using subdermal needle electrode arrays in chicken hatchlings. Regardless of electrode recording configuration (i.e., montage), ABR recordings included 3-4 positive-going peak waveforms within the first 6 ms of a suprathreshold click stimulus. Peak-to-trough waveform amplitudes ranged from 2-11 µV at high-intensity levels, with positive peaks exhibiting expected latency-intensity functions (i.e., increase in latency as a function of decreased intensity). Standardized earphone position was critical for optimal recordings as loose skin can occlude the ear canal, and animal movement can dislodge the stimulus transducer. Peak amplitudes were smaller, and latencies were longer as animal body temperature lowered, supporting the need for maintaining physiological body temperature. For young hatchlings (<3 h post-hatch day 1), thresholds were elevated by ~5 dB, peak latencies increased ~1-2 ms, and peak to trough amplitudes were decreased ~1 µV compared to older hatchlings. This suggests a potential conductive-related issue (i.e., fluid in the middle ear cavity) and should be considered for young hatchlings. Overall, the ABR methods outlined here permit accurate and reproducible recording of in-vivo auditory function in chicken hatchlings that could be applied to different stages of development. Such findings are easily compared to human and mammalian models of hearing loss, aging, or other auditory-related manipulations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemical Engineering
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Immunology and Microbiology
- General Neuroscience