Background: To evaluate the ototoxicity of acetic acid solutions. Methods: Compound action potentials (CAPs) of the eighth nerve were measured in Guinea pigs before and after the application of acetic acid in the middle ear cavity. The pH values of the acetic acid solutions were pH 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0, and the application times were 30 min, 24 h, and 1 week. Results: Acetic acid solution (pH 3.0, N = 3) for 30 min caused no significant elevation in CAP threshold at 4 kHz, but a significant elevation in the threshold was noted for 8 kHz and clicks. Acetic acid solutions (pH 4.0 N = 6, 5.0 N = 5) for 30 min caused no significant elevation in CAP. Acetic acid solution (pH 4.0) for 24 h (N = 5) caused significant elevations of the CAP threshold for 8 kHz, 4 kHz, and for clicks. Acetic acid (pH 5.0) for 24 h (N = 3) caused a significant elevation of the CAP threshold for 4 kHz, but not for 8 kHz or clicks. Acetic acid (pH 5.0) for 1 week (N = 3) caused a small but significant elevation CAP the threshold for 8 kHz and 4 kHz tone bursts, but no significant change was noted for clicks. Conclusions: We found a significant toxic effect of acetic acid in Guinea pigs on eighth-nerve compound action potentials when the pH was 5.0 or lower. Clearly, the stronger the acidity, and longer the exposure time, the more the CAP threshold was elevated.
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