Peer Reviewed Publication
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
A behavioral response paradigm was used to measure hearing thresholds in bottlenose dolphins before and after exposure to 3 kHz tones with sound exposure levels (SELs) from 100 to 203 dB re 1 Pa2s. Experiments were conducted in a relatively quiet pool with ambient noise levels below 55 dB re 1 Pa2/Hz at frequencies above 1 kHz. Experiments 1 and 2 featured 1-s exposures with hearing tested at 4.5 and 3 kHz, respectively. Experiment 3 featured 2-, 4-, and 8-s exposures with hearing tested at 4.5 kHz. For experiment 2, there were no significant differences between control and exposure sessions. For experiments 1 and 3, exposures with SEL=197dB re 1 Pa2s and SEL⩾195dB re 1 Pa2s, respectively, resulted in significantly higher TTS4 than control sessions. For experiment 3 at SEL=195dB re 1 Pa2s, the mean TTS4 was 2.8 dB. These data are consistent with prior studies of TTS in dolphins exposed to pure tones and octave band noise and suggest that a SEL of 195 dB re 1 Pa2s is a reasonable threshold for the onset of TTS in dolphins and white whales exposed to midfrequency tones.
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