April 15, 2024

Temporary Hearing Threshold Shift in California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) Due to a Noise Band Centered at 32 kHz


Ronald A. Kastelein, Lean Helder-Hoek, Laura Van Acoleyen, Linde N. Defillet, and John M. Terhune


Document: Article

Abstract: To determine their frequency-dependent susceptibility to noise-induced temporary hearing threshold shift (TTS), two California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) were exposed for 60 min to a continuous one-sixth-octave noise band (NB) centered at 32 kHz as the fatiguing sound, at sound pressure levels of 132 to 156 dB re 1 µPa (sound exposure levels [SELs] of 168 to 192 dB re 1 µPa2s). Using a psychoacoustic technique, TTSs were quantified at the center frequency of the fatiguing sound and at half an octave and one octave above the center frequency (at 32, 44.8, and 63 kHz). When significant TTS occurred, higher SELs resulted in greater TTSs. TTSs and hearing recovery patterns were similar in both sea lions. The mean onset of TTS1-4 min (defined as 6 dB TTS) in sea lion F01 is estimated to occur after exposure to an SEL of 179 dB re 1 µPa2s (at hearing test frequency 44.8 kHz). After exposure to an SEL of 180 dB re 1 µPa2s, a mean TTS1-4 min of 6.7 dB was measured at hearing test frequency 44.8 kHz. In California sea lions, TTS onset levels are not as closely related (especially at the lower and higher frequencies) to the unmasked hearing thresholds (audiograms) as was previously assumed.

Key Words: anthropogenic noise, audiogram, fatiguing sound, hearing damage, hearing recovery, hearing sensitivity, Otariidae, pinniped, TTS

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.50.2.2024.107

Page Numbers: 107-121

Kastelein et al. is Open Access: Click here for PDF

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