Aerial low-frequency hearing in captive and free-ranging harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) measured using auditory brainstem responses
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The hearing sensitivity of 18 free-ranging and 10 captive harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) to aerial sounds was measured in the presence of typical environmental noise through auditory brainstem response measurements. A focus was put on the comparative hearing sensitivity at low frequencies. Low- and mid-frequency thresholds appeared to be elevated in both captive and free-ranging seals, but this is likely due to masking effects and limitations of the methodology used. The data also showed individual variability in hearing sensitivity with probable age-related hearing loss found in two old harbour seals. These results suggest that the acoustic sensitivity of free-ranging animals was not negatively affected by the soundscape they experienced in the wild.
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