Postnatal development of the auditory brainstem response (ABR) in the unanesthetized gerbil

D. I. Smith*, N. Kraus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The auditory brainstem response (ABR) was used to study the development of 8th nerve and auditory brainstem function in 71 unanesthetized gerbils. Initial replicable responses were observed on day 14. Six vertex-positive waves and a slow negative response (SNR) were obtained in response to a 100 dB HL (re adult threshold) click stimulus on day 20. A general pattern of development characterized by decreasing threshold and wave latencies and increasing amplitudes was found. Latency changes occurred in two stages; rapid decreases in the third postnatal week, followed by a period of gradual decline toward adult latencies during the fourth and fifth weeks. Greater changes in absolute latency were observed for later waves. Development of adult-like thresholds and resistance of response detectability (presence or absence) to increasing stimulus rates occurred prior to or simultaneous with maturation of wave latencies. Increases in amplitude with age continued to adulthood for waves IV and SNR, while other waves declined in amplitude after day 20. The maturation of the ABR overlapped with the emergence and development of the auditory middle latency response (MLR). Waves B (adult latency 16 ms) and C (adult latency 25 ms) were discernable at approximately the same age that a replicable ABR was first obtained, and wave A (adult latency 14 ms) shortly thereafter. The general pattern of decreasing ABR wave thresholds and latencies with age seen in the gerbil is similar to that found in other mammals, including humans. However, the development of mature response characteristics appeared to proceed at a somewhat independent rate among the different ABR and MLR waves. The emergence of the MLR before several ABR waves suggests that development of auditory function in the gerbil may not follow a strictly sequential pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
JournalHearing research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987


  • ABR
  • Auditory evoked response
  • Brainstem evoked response
  • Development
  • MLR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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