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Ultrasonic frogs can tune their ears to different frequencies
Date:7/22/2008

tubes, the researchers measured how the open and closed Eustachian tubes affected the vibration of the eardrum.

They found that the frogs' eardrums became very sensitive to high frequency and ultrasounds when their Eustachian tubes were closed, compared with when they were open. When the Eustachian tubes were open, the eardrums responded mostly to low frequency sounds.

The frogs appear to be able to tune in to specific sound frequencies at will, Feng said. They can shift to high frequency and ultrasonic hearing when the low frequency background noise of rushing water is too intense for them to pick out the calls of potential mates or rivals, he said.

This research likely has implications for human health. Earlier research into the mechanics of frog hearing helped Feng and his colleagues at the U. of I.'s Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology design an "intelligent hearing aid" that boosts sound signals of interest.


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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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