Sex differences in the auditory functions of rodents

Nantian Lin, Shinji Urata, Rebecca Cook, Tomoko Makishima

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: In humans, it is well known that females have better hearing than males. The mechanism of this influence of sex on auditory function in humans is not well understood. Testing the hypothesis of underlying mechanisms often relies on preclinical research, a field in which sex bias still exists unconsciously. Rodents are popular research models in hearing, thus it is crucial to understand the sex differences in these rodent models when studying health and disease in humans. Objectives: This review aims to summarize the existing sex differences in the auditory functions of rodent species including mouse, rat, Guinea pig, Mongolian gerbil, and chinchilla. In addition, a concise summary of the hearing characteristics and the advantages and the drawbacks of conducting auditory experiments in each rodent species is provided. Designs: Manuscripts were identified in PubMed and Ovid Medline for the queries “Rodent”, “Sex Characteristics”, and “Hearing or Auditory Function”. Manuscripts were included if they were original research, written in English, and use rodents. The content of each manuscript was screened for the sex of the rodents and the discussion of sex-based results. Conclusions: The sex differences in auditory function of rodents are prevalent and influenced by multiple factors including physiological mechanisms, sex-based anatomical variations, and stimuli from the external environment. Such differences may play a role in understanding and explaining sex differences in hearing of humans and need to be taken into consideration for developing clinical therapies aim to improve auditory performances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108271
JournalHearing Research
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Auditory function
  • Hearing
  • Hearing loss
  • Ototoxicity
  • Rodents
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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