US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



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J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 139 (5), May 2016 Pages: 3001–3008


Auditory sensitivity was measured in a species of diving duck that is not often kept in captivity, the lesser scaup. Behavioral (psychoacoustics) and electrophysiological [the auditory brainstem response (ABR)] methods were used to measure in-air auditory sensitivity, and the resulting audiograms were compared. Both approaches yielded audiograms with similar U-shapes and regions of greatest sensitivity (2000-3000 Hz). However, ABR thresholds were higher than psychoacoustic thresholds at all frequencies. This difference was least at the highest frequency tested using both methods (5700 Hz) and greatest at 1000 Hz, where the ABR threshold was 26.8 dB higher than the behavioral measure of threshold. This difference is commonly reported in studies involving many different species. These results highlight the usefulness of each method, depending on the testing conditions and availability of the animals.