Diagram of how sharks hearing works

Can sharks hear?

Its a good question…

can sharks hear? They don’t have ears…? Well it is speculated that sharks have a very well-developed hearing sense because it works with the lateral line that enhances and detects vibrations. This makes them good at hearing low vibrations frequencies and finding the position of the noise through using the lateral pores. So they can hear prey that is near. And although they may not have ear lobes they do have ears. These ears are small holes on the sides of the head that leads to the inner ear.

The inner ear has 3 chambers and an ear stone called an otolith. This inner ear detects gravity, sound and acceleration to locate food. It also helps with balancing the shark and finding its equilibrium.

A sharks’ inner ear

So where is the inner ear located? It is fixed into the frontal skull called the chondrocranium and is made up of a chain of ducts and sacs that are filled mostly with sea water in the endolymph.

A human ear can hear sounds ranging from 25Hertz to 16 000Hz whereas a shark can hear splashing from up to 240metres/ 800 feet away (that’s two rugby/ football fields!) with a frequency range from 10Hz to 800Hz with 375Hz being the best frequency.

How do predator sharks know when their prey is close?

Often young, old or sick fish emits an irregular wave pulsed sound of a very low frequency between 20 to 300 Hertz, or cycles per second, which tends to attract sharks and the fish, therefore, are easily captured.

So in conclusion sharks find irregular splashes “earresistable”. It would be “earable” to hear sharks sing the theme song or even Shark-ira. That is deaf-fin-ately not for them!

Written by: Kylie Samuels

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