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What Animal Has The Best Hearing?

Most animals have better hearing than humans – but did you ever wonder what animal has the best hearing? Yep, I did too so I did some research and found some surprising results!

Hearing of course is one of the most important senses we have! Hearing can help us hear potential danger, allows us to hear the voices of the ones we love and there is nothing better than the sound of waves crashing on the beach or the sounds of the birds chirping to relax you. While some of the more weird looking animals have some strange looks – rarely do they have exceptional hearing like the animals below!

To give some perspective to how well animals can hear I wanted to start with a little overview of the average hearing capacity for humans Frequency ranges are what are used to determining hearing ranges – and the average adult human can typically here in a range from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz (20 kHZ). Of course as we age, this range will begin to diminish and get smaller!

So, while there is an animal that does seem to have tested with the highest hearing range – there are plenty of animals with some amazing hearing skills you may be interested in learning about!

Animals With The Best Hearing

The animals below have been known for having the best hearing in the animal world! Some have a better ability to hear lower ranges – some higher ranges, but all of these animals come out on top for their hearing ability!

Of course, the actual hearing range will often depend on breed within each of these animal species. For example, while a large number of bat species has a very high hearing ability due to what is called echolocation – a few species do not have this feature leaving their hearing less impressive!

Dog

Most of us know our dogs hear things not only way before we do – but often things we never hear at all and that is because they have one of the best hearing aptitudes of all animals! Dogs can hear much high frequencies than us mere humans can and typically hear ranges up to 45 kHz – compared to our mere 20 kHz at our peak hearing age!

Of course different breeds also have different ranges as well!

Cat

Our feline friends are similar to that of dogs with the ability to hear much higher ranges than humans with the ability to hear ranges up to 64 Khz. And yes, in terms of hearing cats are better than dogs for those of you who ask the age old question of what is better cats or dogs!

Cats rely on their hearing in the wild to hunt prey and are good with waiting patiently for their prey to pass by so they do not have to run far to catch it! Fun fact – white cats with blue eyes have been found to have a deaf rate of 65 to 85%!

Mouse

What they lack in eyesight, they make up for in hearing! They can hear sounds that would be way to high pitched for humans which is how they can protect themselves from predators. Mice rely heavily on their hearing and smell to help them get around and communicate with each other.

In studies done it was found that a mouse could hear in ranges from 1 to 100 kHz.

Owl

The hearing range of most owl breeds is particularly strong because of their nocturnal life that requires them to have a highly developed hearing system since vision is limited. Their hearing is so strong they can even hear movement of their prey in leaves and underbrush of various types.

Greater Wax Moth – The Winner!

OK, so some of you may argue that a moth is not an animal, but their hearing is so strong I knew I needed to include them! Because moths are prey it is important for them to have a great hearing system to keep them safe! Researchers at the University of Strathclyde found that the Greater Wax Moth – which is definitely not the prettiest creature, has a hearing capability of up to 300kHz. This has been said to be the highest recorded frequency of any animal in the natural world.

Interestingly enough – the biggest predator of this moth is the bat, which also comes in very high for hearing ranges. But with their higher hearing ability – they can evade the bats!

greater wax moth
Greater Wax Moth / image credit: Wikimedia

Elephants

The ears of an elephant are super important for so many reasons – not just hearing! They use their ears to keep cool in those hot climates – which not a lot of people know. But in addition to acting like little air conditioners – especially helpful in the Africa heat, their ears are some of the strongest in the animal world with the ability to hear in ranges from 14 – 16 Hz – much lower than a typical human.

The uniqueness of their ear and ear canal allow them to pick up “infrasound” waves which are something humans cannot do. This ability allows them to pick up the movement of clouds – signaling the onset of rain! This allows them to keep a step ahead and get to those water sources and be ready for the coming rain. They also use these sounds to communicate with other elephants.

Bats

While bats can see just fine during the day – their night time vision is not all that, so thankfully they have an amazing hearing system to make up for that. Bats have the ability to do what is called “echolocation” which is when a bat makes a high-pitched sound and waits to hear for an echo or “bounce back” which will let them know where an object is.

It is estimated that about 70% of bat species have echolocation abilities and a few other mammals can as well.

The range in which various species of bats can hear ranges from 1 kHz to up to 200 kHz! The varies based on bat species of course, bit this is a wide range making it one of the best hearing animals around.

Dolphins

The bottlenose dolphin has been studied and found to have heard a frequency as high as 150 kHz! Dolphins are another animal that uses echolocation – in which they produce high frequency click sounds that allows them to understand and hear what is around them.

While dolphins do not have ears as we know them, they do have small ear openings on both sides of their heads to hear when they are above the water. Underwater they actually use their lower jawbone which helps push sound to their middle ear.

8 animals that have amazing hearing

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