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Hear & now

Author: admin

Traditionally associated with wisdom, the owl could well become a symbol of hope for the hearing-impaired. Scientists from the University of Oldenburg in Germany have discovered that the hearing of barn owls does not deteriorate with age. While all birds are able to regenerate cells in their inner ears and consequently undergo less hearing loss than mammals, barn owls—who locate their prey through their sensitivity to sound—are remarkable as they experience no hearing loss whatsoever. In fact, the study showed no statistical difference between the hearing ability of young barn owls and elderly owls up to 23 years old. “The lack of hearing loss in old barn owls is remarkable, given that the average life expectancy of barn owls is rather low,” writes team leader Dr Ulrike Langemann in journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. “Understanding the preservation of hearing in these birds could lead to new treatment options for deaf humans.”

Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
December 2017