How do different animals hear, and what are ears like on other animals?

Every living creature can hear - but how?

Whatever their shape and size, most living things are able to hear – although they do it in lots of different ways.

Sounds are all around us – they travel through the air, water, and land. And for animals, and humans, to make sense of sounds, they have to reach the brain.

Many insects pick up sounds through tiny hairs on their body — but snakes feel sounds through their skin. Fish and other sea animals feel sounds as the waves travel through the water.

Birds and mammals have ear canals, like you and I, although a tiny mouse hears a different range of sounds compared to an elephant because smaller ear bones pick up higher vibrations…

Many animals can hear sounds we can’t – it’s important for their survival.

Bats need to be able to hear a huge spectrum of sounds because they use sound to navigate in the dark. Even more impressive is the Wax Moth – this little guy can hear 150 times more than we can – but that’s because it’s main predator are bats – they need to stay one step ahead!

Even your pets have a different range of hearing to you. That’s why your dog might bark when it hears a dog whistle, which you and I can’t hear!

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Hallux’s Hearing Helpdesk, with support from Phonak UK

 

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