Inhalation exposure of rats to toluene causes irreversible hearing loss (e.g., Pryor et al.). To determine whether noise emanating from the inhalation system was a major contributing factor and whether exposure by a noninhalation route would cause a similar effect, weanling, male Fischer-344 rats were injected SC twice daily in a quiet environment with PEG-300 (control) or with 1.5 or 1.7 g/kg of toluene for 7 days. After being trained to perform a multisensory conditioned avoidance response (CAR) task, tone intensity-response functions were generated at 4, 8, 12, and 20 kHz, and behavioral auditory response thresholds were estimated. Toluene caused a dose-related hearing loss at frequencies of 8 kHz and above, with no effect on performance of the CAR in response to light, nonaversive footshock, or the 4-kHz tone. The similarity of this effect to that observed following inhalation exposure indicates that noise is not a major factor in the toluene-induced hearing loss, although possible interactions between noise and toluene remain to be investigated. These results also demonstrate that direct penetration of the toluene vapors through the external ear structure, as might occur during inhalation exposure, is not a necessary condition for inducing the hearing loss.