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The hearing threshold of a harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) for impulsive sounds (L)

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Author: Kastelein, R.A. · Gransier, R. · Hoek, L. · Jong, C.A.F. de
Source:Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, August, 2, 132, 607-610
Identifier: 463745
doi: doi:10.1121/1.4733552
Keywords: Harbor porpoises · Sea Mammals · Underwater detonations · Hearing threshold · Sound pulses · Biological effects · Defence Research · Defence, Safety and Security · Physics & Electronics · AS - Acoustics & Sonar · TS - Technical Sciences


The distance at which harbor porpoises can hear underwater detonation sounds is unknown, but depends, among other factors, on the hearing threshold of the species for impulsive sounds. Therefore, the underwater hearing threshold of a young harbor porpoise for an impulsive sound, designed to mimic a detonation pulse, was quantified by using a psychophysical technique. The synthetic exponential pulse with a 5 ms time constant was produced and transmitted by an underwater projector in a pool. The resulting underwater sound, though modified by the response of the projection system and by the pool, exhibited the characteristic features of detonation sounds: A zero to peak sound pressure level of at least 30 dB (re 1 s</field>-1) higher than the sound exposure level, and a short duration (34 ms). The animal's 50 detection threshold for this impulsive sound occurred at a received unweighted broadband sound exposure level of 60 dB re 1 μPa</field>2s. It is shown that the porpoise's audiogram for short-duration tonal signals [Kastelein, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 128, 3211-3222 (2010)] can be used to estimate its hearing threshold for impulsive sounds. © 2012 Acoustical Society of America.