Department of Biology

Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Professor Peter Teglberg Madsen

Time-varying auditory gain control in response to double-pulse stimuli in harbour porpoises is not mediated by a stapedial reflex

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DOI

Echolocating animals reduce their output level and hearing sensitivity with decreasing echo delays, presumably to stabilize the perceived echo intensity during target approaches. In bats, this variation in hearing sensitivity is formed by a call-induced stapedial reflex that tapers off over time after the call. Here, we test the hypothesis that a similar mechanism exists in toothed whales by subjecting a trained harbour porpoise to a series of double sound pulses varying in delay and frequency, while measuring the magnitudes of the evoked auditory brainstem responses (ABRs). We find that the recovery of the ABR to the second pulse is frequency dependent, and that a stapedial reflex therefore cannot account for the reduced hearing sensitivity at short pulse delays. We propose that toothed whale auditory time-varying gain control during echolocation is not enabled by the middle ear as in bats, but rather by frequency-dependent mechanisms such as forward masking and perhaps higher-order control of efferent feedback to the outer hair cells.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOpen Biology
Volume6
Issue4
Pages (from-to)525-529
Number of pages5
ISSN2046-6390
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2017

    Research areas

  • Toothed whale, Echolocation, Stapedial reflex, Masking, Automatic gain control, Hearing, BOTTLE-NOSED-DOLPHIN, EVOKED-POTENTIAL RECOVERY, DOUBLE CLICK STIMULATION, FALSE KILLER WHALE, HEARING SENSITIVITY, PHOCOENA-PHOCOENA, TURSIOPS-TRUNCATUS, ECHOLOCATION, SYSTEM, BATS

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