Turtles can suffer hearing loss, too

Photo credit: Jolo Diaz

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report in Science Daily discussing research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution states that marine noise pollution can cause temporary hearing loss in turtles. This phenomenon was known for fish and marine mammals, but had not previously been reported in reptiles.

Like many marine animals, turtles use hearing for detecting predators and for communication. The researchers were surprised at how quickly turtles’ hearing was damaged.

In this study, turtles’ hearing always recovered eventually, but I suspect that repeated exposure to loud noise will eventually cause permanent hearing loss in turtles just as it does in humans and research animals exposed to noise.

As I have often written, a quieter world will be a better and healthier world for all, now including our turtle friends in oceans and ponds.


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