Although electrophysiological methods of measuring the hearing sensitivity of pinnipeds are not yet as refined as those for dolphins and porpoises, they appear to be a promising supplement to traditional psychophysical procedures. In order to further standardize electrophysiological methods with pinnipeds, a within-subject comparison of psychophysical and auditory steady-state response (ASSR) measures of aerial hearing sensitivity was conducted with a 1.5-yr-old California sea lion. The psychophysical audiogram was similar to those previously reported for otariids, with a U-shape, and thresholds near 10 dB re 20 μPa at 8 and 16 kHz. ASSR thresholds measured using both single and multiple simultaneous amplitude-modulated tones closely reproduced the psychophysical audiogram, although the mean ASSR thresholds were elevated relative to psychophysical thresholds. Differences between psychophysical and ASSR thresholds were greatest at the low- and high-frequency ends of the audiogram. Thresholds measured using the multiple ASSR method were not different from those measured using the single ASSR method. The multiple ASSR method was more rapid than the single ASSR method, and allowed for threshold measurements at seven frequencies in less than 20 min. The multiple ASSR method may be especially advantageous for hearing sensitivity measurements with otariid subjects that are untrained for psychophysical procedures.
California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) aerial hearing sensitivity measured using auditory steady-state response and psychophysical methods
Jason Mulsow, James J. Finneran, Dorian S. Houser; California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) aerial hearing sensitivity measured using auditory steady-state response and psychophysical methods. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 April 2011; 129 (4): 2298–2306. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.3552882
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