This study was designed to evaluate the suggestion that during bone vibrator stimulation on skull bone (bone conduction auditory stimulation), a major connection between the site of the bone vibrator and the inner ear is a fluid pathway. A series of experiments were conducted on pairs of animals (rats or guinea pigs). The cranial cavities of each pair of animals were coupled by means of a saline filled plastic tube sealed into a craniotomy in the skull of each animal. In response to bone conduction click stimulation to the skull bone of animal I, auditory nerve-brainstem evoked responses could be recorded in animal II. Various procedures showed that these responses were initiated in animal II in response to audio-frequency sound pressures generated within the cranial cavity of animal I by the bone conduction stimulation and transferred to the cranial cavity of animal II through the fluid in the plastic tube: they were not responses to air conducted sounds generated by the bone vibrator, were not induced in animal II by vibrations conveyed to it by the plastic tube and were not electrically conducted activity from animal I. Exposing the fluid in the tube to air was not accompanied by any change in threshold. These experiments confirm that during bone conduction stimulation on the skull, audio-frequency sound pressures (alternating condensations and rarefactions) can be conveyed by a fluid pathway to the cochlea and stimulate it. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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