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The Subject

Planning or setting up your DPOAE experiment must begin with an understanding of the subject's normal hearing range and factors that might have an effect on its response or recording. DPOAEs have been measured for many species. In this guide, we'll focus on the three common species used in DPOAE experiments and screening protocols: mice and rats.

Expected Hearing Range

DPOAE tests are typically focused on the range in which the species is commonly known to hear well.

Subject Standard Testing Range Standard Testing Range
Mice 4 kHz to 110 kHz 4 kHz to 48 kHz
Rats 2 kHz to 70 kHz 2 kHz to 32 kHz
(EC1: 4 kHz to 70 kHz)


The hearing range of laboratory subjects may vary across different strains or colonies and can be affected by age, the environment, and anesthesia.

Many lab subjects experience hearing loss due to age. The rate of loss varies across species and strains. This effect has been observed as early as 12 weeks in mice.

Anesthesia Considerations

Two types of anesthesia protocols are typically used for DPOAE testing. Each has benefits and limitations. Check your IRB approved guidelines for dosages and protocol.

Xylazine(XYL) + Ketamine to start, Ketamine to Boost

This aesthetic protocol uses an injectable combination of muscle relaxer and sedative. Typically, the subject is unconscious in a few minutes, begins to wake ~45 minutes and is completely awake at ~90 minutes after initial sedation. If a subject wakes early or a test runs longer than ~45 minutes, a booster of ketamine can be used to keep the subject anesthetized. Be sure to follow your approved IRB protocol.

Isoflurane (ISO)

This aesthetic protocol uses a fast acting inhalant with a short duration. The subject is typically fully sedated within 4-5 minutes and wakes very quickly when the gas is removed.


While ISO affects the central nervous system it does not appear to affect the peripheral system, such as hair cells.