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Hear Res. 2001 Feb;152(1-2):17-24.

Effects of underwater noise on auditory sensitivity of a cyprinid fish.

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Mechanosensory Physiology Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA.


The ability of a fish to interpret acoustic information in its environment is crucial for its survival. Thus, it is important to understand how underwater noise affects fish hearing. In this study, the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) was used to examine: (1) the immediate effects of white noise exposure (0.3-4.0 kHz, 142 dB re: 1 microPa) on auditory thresholds and (2) recovery after exposure. Audiograms were measured using the auditory brainstem response protocol and compared to baseline audiograms of fathead minnows not exposed to noise. Immediately after exposure to 24 h of white noise, five out of the eight frequencies tested showed a significantly higher threshold compared to the baseline fish. Recovery was found to depend on both duration of noise exposure and auditory frequency. These results support the hypothesis that the auditory threshold of the fathead minnow can be altered by white noise, especially in its most sensitive hearing range (0.8-2.0 kHz), and provide evidence that these effects can be long term (>14 days).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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