Peer Reviewed Publication
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Noise-induced temporary hearing threshold shift (TTS) was studied in a harbor porpoise exposed to impulsive sounds of scaled-down airguns while both stationary and free-swimming for up to 90 min. In a previous study, 4 dB TTS was elicited in this porpoise, but despite 8 dB higher single-shot and cumulative exposure levels (up to 199 dB re 1 μPa2s) in the present study, the porpoise showed no significant TTS at hearing frequencies 2, 4, or 8 kHz. There were no changes in the study animal’s audiogram between the studies or significant differences in the fatiguing sound that could explain the difference, but audible and visual cues in the present study may have allowed the porpoise to predict when the fatiguing sounds would be produced. The discrepancy between the studies may have resulted from self-mitigation by the porpoise. Self-mitigation, resulting in reduced hearing sensitivity, can be achieved via changes in the orientation of the head, or via alteration of the hearing threshold by processes in the ear or central nervous system.
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