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Brain-stem evoked potentials and noise effects in seagulls.


Brain-stem auditory evoked potentials (BAEP) recorded from the seagull were large-amplitude, short-latency, vertex-positive deflections which originate in the eighth nerve and several brain-stem nuclei. BAEP waveforms were similar in latency and configurations to that reported for certain other lower vertebrates and some mammals. BAEP recorded at several pure tone frequencies throughout the seagull's auditory spectrum showed an area of heightened auditory sensitivity between 1 and 3 kHz. This range was also found to be the primary bandwidth of the vocalization output of young seagulls. Masking by white noise and pure tones had remarkable effects on several parameters of the BAEP. In general, the tone- and click-induced BAEP were either reduced or obliterated by both pure tone and white noise maskers of specific signal to noise ratios and high intensity levels. The masking effects observed in this study may be related to the manner in which seagulls respond to intense environmental noise. One possible conclusion is that intense environmental noise, such as aircraft engine noise, may severely alter the seagull's localization apparatus and induce sonogenic stress, both of which could cause collisions with low-flying aircraft.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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