US-Funded Study Of Whale Hearing Going Ahead Despite Concerns For Whales

"An international team of scientists is preparing to trap a dozen baleen whales off the coast of Norway and conduct hearing tests on them to gauge their sensitivity to human-made sounds such as sonar.

Researchers have tested the auditory faculties of smaller animals in captivity, but this would be the first time scientists have ever captured live whales in the wild to assess their hearing.

"This has been a long-standing issue, this lack of information on how sensitive the hearing of these large whales is," said the project's principal investigator Dorian Houser, of the National Marine Mammal Foundation.

"We're trying to get the first measurements to empirically show what they hear and how sensitive to sound they are," he said."

Joe Hernandez reports for NPR June 8, 2021.

Source: NPR, 06/10/2021