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Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031

These 10 Animals Have the Best Hearing on the Planet

These 10 Animals Have the Best Hearing on the Planet
Humans may be on the top of the food chain when it comes to our clever, tool-using ways, but we certainly haven’t cornered the market on the best hearing. While your local audiologist can help improve your hearing, even the best human hearing can’t compare to the top ten animals with the best hearing on the planet.

To give you a baseline, the human hearing range is generally 20-20,000 Hz (hertz). While there can be variations between individuals, that is the average for humans. So, how do we stack up to the animals with the best hearing planet? Check out the list below to see!

1. Horses

Hearing Capacity of Horses
Horses can hear a bit below and above our human hearing range, going from 14 Hz up to 25 kHz. To help clarify, 1,000 Hz makes up 1 kHz, putting the horse’s hearing capacity a bit beyond us mere humans (20 Hz to 20 kHz).

As a herd animal, horses in the wild will often have one or more horses on the lookout. While their eyesight has an expansive range, horses predominantly rely on hearing to alert them of potential dangers to the herd.

2. Dogs

Dogs Hearing Range
Man’s best friend beats us when it comes to hearing range. On average, dogs have a hearing range from 40 Hz to 60 kHz. Some dogs which have been bred as hunting dogs can have more sensitive hearing to help hear and flush out prey.

This highly sensitive hearing range allows for many dogs to be able to differentiate between their owner’s footsteps and those of a stranger. Now, whether or not your dog cares if there is a stranger? Well, that’s a different story.

3. Greater Wax Moths

Greater Wax Moths Hearing Range
Greater wax moths—also known as Galleria mellonella—have the highest recorded sound frequency range that has been recorded so far. They can hear frequencies up to 300 kHz (kilohertz).

Interestingly, since the greater wax moth is on the menu for insect-eating bats, the fact that the moths can hear up to 300 kHz is likely an evolutionary trait to help the moths dodge the bats using echolocation.

4. Bats

High Frequency Hearing Range of Bats
Depending on the species of bat, the exact hearing range can differ. However, the most sensitive bat species tend to have a narrow, high-frequency range, from 15 kHz-90 kHz. At most, some bats are able to hear up to 200 kHz.

This high-frequency range hearing is used as bats echolocate. While their eyesight isn’t necessarily as bad as you might think, most bats use echolocation to find food, rest, and mates.

5. Cats

Hearing Range of Cats
Cats can’t hear quite as low-frequency as dogs, but cats have dogs beat when it comes to high-frequency—likely due to hunting rodents and other small prey. The hearing range of cats goes from 45 Hz-64 kHz, giving them plenty of range to both hear humans talk and ignore us anyway.

Also, mechanically speaking, cats have amazing ears. Their ears each have about three dozen muscles, which allows cats to exert fine control over their hearing and rotate each ear 180-degree when needed.

6. Elephants

Big Ears on Elephants
The big ears on elephants aren’t just for show. For such a large animal, elephants have an impressive hearing range going from 16 Hz-12 kHz. Along with hearing well, elephants use their ears to help regulate their temperatures and protect them from overheating.

7. Dolphins

Dolphins Hearing Range
On average, dolphins have a hearing range of 75 Hz-150 kHz. This impressive hearing range makes sense, as dolphins use echolocation to help hunt, locate their pod when separated, and avoid dangers.

Outside of the water, dolphins use their small ear openings to hear what is going on around them. But when in water, dolphins hear with their lower jawbone. The sound is conducted from their jawbone to the dolphins’ middle ears. Humans also have sound conducting bones, but we don’t utilize them as effectively as dolphins.

8. Owls

Owls Hearing Range
While an owl’s hearing range may not be actually broader than a human’s hearing, an owl has greater frequency sensitivity. Owls’ hearing range is 200 Hz-12 kHz, but they have a particular sensitivity to sounds at 7 kHz, as that is the frequency that much of the prey of owls emit.

Interestingly, when examined, the brains of owls have much more dedicated space to their hearing than other types of birds. Researchers have suggested that this may be due to owls being strict carnivores and night hunters.

9. Rats

Rats Hearing Range
Rats have an impressive hearing range, in part thanks to their close ear position and developed likely for survival, as there are many animals that find rats an excellent meal. With a hearing range of 200 Hz-90 kHz, rats are able to hear ultrasound and potentially dodge predators.

Also, albino rats don’t seem to suffer from the same hearing loss issues of other albino animals. Instead, the albino rats researchers have tested seem to retain their wide hearing range.

10. Pigeons

Pigeons Hearing Capacity
More impressive than you would expect from a type of bird that most people consider pests, pigeons can hear far lower frequencies than any other animal on this list. With a hearing range of 0.5 Hz to 4 kHz, pigeons are able to hear sounds in the infrasonic range. This ability helps pigeons be the best navigators, and they can detect major disasters like volcanoes and earthquakes before they are visible and detectable by humans.

While you don’t have to have the best hearing in the world, having a good human-level hearing is important for social interaction, mental health, and more. If you have been struggling with your hearing, Hearing & Balance Doctors is here to help. Feel free to contact us to schedule a hearing evaluation, and let us help you get your hearing on track again.

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