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Measuring hearing in the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina): Comparison of behavioral and auditory brainstem

Summary: Measuring hearing in the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina):
Comparison of behavioral and auditory brainstem
response techniques
Lawrence F. Wolski,a)
Rindy C. Anderson,b)
Ann E. Bowles, and Pamela K. Yochem
Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute, 2595 Ingraham Drive, San Diego, California 92109
Received 8 January 2001; revised 30 September 2002; accepted 10 October 2002
Auditory brainstem response ABR and standard behavioral methods were compared by measuring
in-air audiograms for an adult female harbor seal Phoca vitulina . Behavioral audiograms were
obtained using two techniques: the method of constant stimuli and the staircase method. Sensitivity
was tested from 0.250 to 30 kHz. The seal showed good sensitivity from 6 to 12 kHz best
sensitivity 8.1 dB re 20 Pa2
s RMS at 8 kHz . The staircase method yielded thresholds that were
lower by 10 dB on average than the method of constant stimuli. ABRs were recorded at 2, 4, 8, 16,
and 22 kHz and showed a similar best range 816 kHz . ABR thresholds averaged 5.7 dB higher
than behavioral thresholds at 2, 4, and 8 kHz. ABRs were at least 7 dB lower at 16 kHz, and
approximately 3 dB higher at 22 kHz. The better sensitivity of ABRs at higher frequencies could
have reflected differences in the seal's behavior during ABR testing and/or bandwidth characteristics
of test stimuli. These results agree with comparisons of ABR and behavioral methods performed in


Source: Anderson, Rindy C. - Department of Biology, Duke University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Biology and Medicine