Measuring the cochlear blood flow and distortion-product otoacoustic emissions during reversible cochlear ischemia: A rabbit model

Thierry Mom, Fred F. Telischi, Glen K. Martin, Brenda L. Lonsbury-Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Impairment to the cochlear blood flow likely induces many types of sensorineural hearing loss. Models using several small laboratory animals have been described in the literature that permit the simultaneous monitoring of the cochlear blood flow with laser-Doppler flowmetry and cochlear function using evoked responses. However, these models have not permitted a direct application of the resulting knowledge to the human condition, primarily due to differences in the translucence of the otic capsule between species. In the present study, to approximate conditions relevant to the human patient, the rabbit was utilized to develop a procedure in which laser-Doppler flowmetry could be used to measure the cochlear blood flow in an animal with an opaque otic capsule. At the same time, the cochlear function was monitored non-invasively using distortion-product otoacoustic emissions. In this manner, a laser-Doppler probe was positioned in the round window niche and the cochlear function measured using distortion-product otoacoustic emissions during a systematic series of ischemic episodes. Cochlear ischemia was produced by deliberately compressing the eighth nerve complex at the porus of the internal acoustic meatus, for periods lasting from 1-3 min, while cochlear blood flow and distortion-product otoacoustic emission measures were obtained simultaneously before, during and following the occlusion. Results demonstrated that the cochlear blood flow sharply decreased within 1 s after compression onset, whereas distortion-product otoacoustic emissions showed obstruction-induced changes after a delay of several seconds, provided that the blood flow decreased, at least, 40%. Similarly, upon release of the compression, the cochlear blood flow began to recover within 1 s, whereas the recovery of the corresponding distortion-product otoacoustic emissions was slightly delayed. Although not apparent in the distortion-product otoacoustic emission recovery time course, the cochlear blood flow consistently overshot its initial baseline value during the recovery process. Thus, although cochlear ischemia produced changes in the distortion-product otoacoustic emission activity that generally followed the resulting alterations in the cochlear blood flow, the detailed relationship between the two measures was complex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-52
Number of pages13
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 1999


  • Cochlear blood flow
  • Distortion product otoacoustic emission
  • Laser-Doppler flowmetry
  • Rabbit
  • Reversible cochlear ischemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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