Effect of Two Levels of Masking Noise on the Hearing Threshold of a Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) for a 4.0 kHz Signal

Abstract: The 50% detection hearing thresholds of a harbor porpoise for a 4.0 kHz narrow-band FM signal, presented at the background noise level in a pool and with two masking noise levels, were measured using a go/no-go response paradigm and an updown staircase psychometric method. The masker consisted of a 1/6 octave noise band with a center frequency of 4.25 kHz. Its amplitude declined at 24 dB/octave on both sides of the spectral plateau. The absolute hearing threshold of the porpoise, found previously, was confirmed. The animal’s auditory system responded in a linear fashion to the increase in masking noise. Since the narrowband noise was off-center of the test frequency, the critical ratio of a harbor porpoise for 4.0 kHz tonal signals in white noise can at present only be estimated to be between 18 and 21 dB re: 1 μPa.

Key Words: anthropogenic noise, critical ratio, hearing, masking, harbor porpoise, odontocetes, Phocoena phocoena

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.34.4.2008.420

Page Numbers: 420-425

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