Underwater Noises Are Damaging Turtles' Ability to Hear

By Medscape Staff

March 04, 2022

Underwater noise pollution can harm turtles’ hearing enough that it lasts for hours or even days, according to researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

What to know:

  • Underwater noise pollution caused by activities like shipping and construction in both fresh and saltwater environments can cause hearing loss in turtles that can last from minutes to days.

  • Previous studies found that a wide range of animals, from squid to fish to whales, are vulnerable to underwater hearing loss after exposure to intense noise.

  • Even low-level noises can have an impact on a turtle's hearing.

  • Hearing loss for any amount of time threatens a turtle's ability to communicate as well as their ability to hear and avoid predators and other dangers.

  • Over half of turtle and tortoise species are already threatened by changes to their environments and the new findings could have implications for the survival of some threatened turtle species.

This is a summary of the article "Underwater noise causes hearing loss in turtles," published by the American Geophysical Union on March 2, 2022. The full article can be found on phys.org.

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