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J Acoust Soc Am. 2012 Jan;131(1):599-607. doi: 10.1121/1.3664082.

Effects of mid-frequency active sonar on hearing in fish.

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Department of Biology and Center for Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


Caged fish were exposed to sound from mid-frequency active (MFA) transducers in a 5 × 5 planar array which simulated MFA sounds at received sound pressure levels of 210 dB SPL(re 1 μPa). The exposure sound consisted of a 2 s frequency sweep from 2.8 to 3.8 kHz followed by a 1 s tone at 3.3 kHz. The sound sequence was repeated every 25 s for five repetitions resulting in a cumulative sound exposure level (SEL(cum)) of 220 dB re 1 μPa(2) s. The cumulative exposure level did not affect the hearing sensitivity of rainbow trout, a species whose hearing range is lower than the frequencies in the presented MFA sound. In contrast, one cohort of channel catfish showed a statistically significant temporary threshold shift of 4-6 dB at 2300 Hz, but not at lower tested frequencies, whereas a second cohort showed no change. It is likely that this threshold shift resulted from the frequency spectrum of the MFA sound overlapping with the upper end of the hearing frequency range of the channel catfish. The observed threshold shifts in channel catfish recovered within 24 h. There was no mortality associated with the MFA sound exposure used in this test.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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