Featured Image Credit: Source.
By: Sarah Sharkey
As worldwide shipping traffic increases, scientists are looking into the hearing abilities of whales. Just
like our land traffic, shipping traffic is loud. Many whales rely on their hearing for countless of their
underwater activities. Hunting, socializing, and navigating are just a few of the things that whales need
their hearing for.
Scientists in Bristol Bay, Alaska were able to conduct the first hearing test on wild and healthy marine
mammals. The study results showed that these animals have very sensitive hearing. However, the study
also showed that the number of animals that had extensive hearing loss after the trials was much less
The expectations were that these animals would lose more of their hearing based on previous studies
done on bottlenose dolphins in aquariums. Those dolphins exhibited a large hearing loss through time as
they aged. It is unclear why the results differed for the wild population of beluga whales.
Researchers will continue to look into hearing of marine mammals in the wild. It is important to
understand the hearing capabilities of these animals before human sounds in the ocean start to affect
them too much. By learning more about their hearing sensitivities, we can craft better laws and
protective regulations to mitigate harm from future human activities.
Read more from the source.