Wideband acoustic reflex growth in adults with cystic fibrosis

Martha R. Westman, Daniel B. Putterman, Angela C. Garinis, Lisa L. Hunter, M. Patrick Feeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF) are often treated with intravenous (IV) aminoglycoside (AG) antibiotics to manage life-threatening bacterial infections. Preclinical animal data suggest that, in addition to damaging cochlear hair cells, this class of antibiotics may cause cochlear synaptopathy and/or damage to higher auditory structures. The acoustic reflex growth function (ARGF) is a noninvasive, objective measure of neural function in the auditory system. A shallow ARGF (small reflex-induced changes in middle ear function with increasing elicitor level) has been associated with synaptopathy due to noise exposure in rodent and human studies. In this study, the ARGF was obtained in CF patients with normal hearing, some of whom have been treated with IV AGs, and a control group without CF. The hypothesis was that patients with IV-AG exposure would have a shallow ARGF due to cochlear synaptopathy caused by ototoxicity. Method: Wideband ARGFs were examined in four groups of normal-hearing participants: a control group of 29 individuals without CF; and in 57 individuals with CF grouped by lifetime IV-AG exposure: 15 participants with no exposure, 21 with low exposure, and 21 with high exposure. Procedures included pure-tone audiometry, clinical immittance, wideband acoustic immittance battery, including ARGFs, and transient evoked otoacoustic emissions. Results: CF subjects with normal pure-tone thresholds and either high or low lifetime IV-AG exposure had enhanced ARGFs compared to controls and CF participants without IV-AG exposure. The groups did not differ in transient evoked otoacoustic emission signal-to-noise ratio. Conclusion: These results diverge from the shallow ARGF pattern observed in studies of noise-induced cochlear synaptopathy and are suggestive of a central mechanism of auditory dysfunction in patients with AG-induced ototoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)825-833
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of audiology
Issue number3S
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


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