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J Acoust Soc Am. 2010 Jun;127(6):3830-6. doi: 10.1121/1.3425733.

Target distance-dependent variation of hearing sensitivity during echolocation in a false killer whale.

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Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, 33 Leninsky Prospect, 119071 Moscow, Russia.


Evidence of varying hearing sensitivity according to the target distance was obtained in a false killer whale Pseudorca crassidens during echolocation. Auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) triggered by echolocation clicks were recorded. The target distance varied from 1 to 6 m. The records contained AEPs to the self-heard emitted click and AEPs to the echoes. Mean level of echolocation clicks depended on distance (the longer the distance, the higher the click level), however, the effect of click level on AEP amplitude was eliminated by extracting AEPs to clicks of certain particular levels. The amplitude of the echo-provoked AEP was almost independent of distance, however, the amplitude of the AEP to the emitted click, did depend on distance within a range from 1 to 4 m: the longer the distance, the higher the amplitude. The latter result is interpreted as confirmational evidence that the animal is capable of varying hearing sensitivity according to target distance. The variation of hearing sensitivity may help to compensate for the echo attenuation with distance; as a secondary effect, this variation manifested itself in a variation of the amplitude of the AEP to emitted clicks.

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