Detection and discrimination of simple and complex sounds by hearing-impaired Belgian Waterslager canaries

Amanda M. Lauer, Robert J. Dooling, Marjorie R. Leek, Kirsten Poling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Belgian Waterslager canaries (BWC) are bred to produce a distinctive low-pitched song with energy restricted to a lower range of frequencies than in other types of canaries. Previous studies have shown a high frequency hearing loss primarily above 2000 Hz that is related to hair cell abnormalities in BWC, but little is known about auditory perception in these birds. Here, frequency, duration, and intensity discrimination, temporal integration, gap detection, and discrimination of temporally reversed harmonic complexes in BWC were measured and compared to normal-hearing non-BWC. BWC had excellent frequency discrimination ability at 1000 Hz, but showed poor frequency discrimination compared to non-BWC at frequencies in the region of hearing loss. Duration and intensity discrimination were not adversely affected in BWC. Temporal integration was reduced in BWC, except at 2000 Hz. Gap detection and discrimination of temporally reversed stimuli were somewhat better in BWC than in non-BWC. Those tests that relied primarily on temporal processing were less affected by the cochlear damage in BWC than tests that probably relied more on audibility and spectral analysis. Thus, despite significant high frequency hearing loss and extensive damage along the basilar papilla, BWC retain relatively good hearing abilities under many conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3615-3627
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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