Hearing in Rodents
Hearing in rodents has been measured using both behavioral and physiological methods. Features of hearing that have been measured in rodents include auditory acuity in quiet and in noise, frequency selectivity and sensitivity, intensity resolution, temporal resolution, and complex sound perception. Generally, and especially for simple tone detection, behavioral thresholds are lower than physiological thresholds. Within behavioral studies, operant experiments using awake, behaving rodents produce lower thresholds than simple reflexive measures. Rodents generally have broader frequency filters than other mammals. Frequency and intensity resolution are similar but slightly elevated relative to other mammals. The few measures of complex sound perception performed to date show that at least some rodents have the capacity to distinguish between spectrotemporal characteristics of acoustic signals for communication. Most studies have typically employed domesticated laboratory rodents rather than wild-caught species, so few attempts have been made to correlate lifestyle and evolutionary history with auditory processing. Nonetheless, a baseline knowledge of hearing abilities in rodents will facilitate experiments on the perception of more complex, natural acoustic stimuli in the future.
KeywordsAudiogram Critical ratio Discrimination Frequency difference limen Intensity difference limen Speech perception Ultrasonic vocalizations
The work described here was supported by NIH R03DC009483 and R01DC012302 (Dent). This work would not have been possible if not for the significant contributions of Dr. Kelly Radziwon and numerous undergraduate and graduate students in the Dent Laboratory. Thanks to Dr. Amanda Lauer for helpful comments on this chapter.
Compliance with Ethics Requirements
Micheal Dent declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Laurel Screven declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Anastasiya Kobrina declares that she has no conflict of interest.
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