Measures of the auditory brain‐stem response (ABR), distortion product otoacoustic emission (2f1−f2), hair cell loss, and forward masked tuning curves were obtained from waltzing guinea pigs and their age‐matched controls at postnatal day 2, 9, 15, and 30. A mild ABR threshold shift (10–15 dB) is seen by 2 days postnatal and gradually increases to a more severe threshold shift (40–50 dB) by postnatal day 15. Already by 30 days the auditory brain‐stem response, being beyond the output of the instrumentation, could not be elicited. The mean distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOE) amplitude as a function of f1 amplitude for the postnatal day 2, 9, and 15 waltzing guinea pigs were only between 3 and 8 dB below the control values for stimulus levels below 65 dB SPL. The DPOE audiogram constructed for the waltzing guinea pigs shows no more than an 8‐dB mean difference from the control values when the intensity of f1 was 50 dB SPL, and no more than 10 dB when f1 was 60 dB SPL. Analysis of the individual cases revealed that the DPOE amplitude could be greater than control values. On the contrary, when f1 stimulus levels were below 65 dB SPL, DPOEs could not be detected for the postnatal day 30 waltzing guinea pigs. At stimulus levels above 65 dB SPL, DPOEs could be recorded yet these responses were depressed from control values by 10 to 25 dB. Analysis of surface preparations of the organ of Corti from the day 15 waltzing guinea pig reveals that the prominent alteration occurs on the third row outer hair cells.
To a lesser extent, the second row outer hair cells, and then the first row outer hair cells are affected while the inner hair cells appear normal. In contrast, the organ of Corti from the postnatal day 30 waltzing guinea pig showed a more extensive outer hair cell loss among all three rows as well as a considerable degree of inner hair cell loss. Forward masked auditory brain‐stem response tuning curves were generated at 8, 4, and 1 kHz for control and waltzing guinea pigs between 2 and 12 days of age. All tuning curves obtained from waltzing guinea pigs showed progressive decreases in sensitivity with increasing age. The Q 10 dB values of the 1‐ and 4‐kHz tuning curves were not different between the controls and the waltzing guinea pigs at any age. However, compared to the controls, the Q 10‐dB values of the 8‐kHz tuning curves were reduced by 50% for the waltzing guinea pigs.