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Auditory feedback modulates development of kitten vocalizations.

Hubka P, Konerding W, Kral A - Cell Tissue Res. (2014)

Bottom Line: In total, 13,874 vocalizations were analyzed using an automated procedure.The fundamental frequency decreased with age in all groups, most likely due to maturation of the vocal apparatus.Auditory feedback thus affects the acoustic structure of vocalizations and their ontogenetic development.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of AudioNeuroTechnology and Department of Experimental Otology, ENT Clinics, Cluster of Excellence 'Hearing4all', Hannover Medical School, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 35, 30175, Hannover, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Effects of hearing loss on vocal behavior are species-specific. To study the impact of auditory feedback on feline vocal behavior, vocalizations of normal-hearing, hearing-impaired (white) and congenitally deaf (white) cats were analyzed at around weaning age. Eleven animals were placed in a soundproof booth for 30 min at different ages, from the first to the beginning of the fourth postnatal month, every 2 weeks of life. In total, 13,874 vocalizations were analyzed using an automated procedure. Firstly, vocalizations were detected and segmented, with voiced and unvoiced vocalizations being differentiated. The voiced isolation calls ('meow') were further analyzed. These vocalizations showed developmental changes affecting several parameters in hearing controls, whereas the developmental sequence was delayed in congenitally deaf cats. In hearing-impaired and deaf animals, we observed differences both in vocal behavior (loudness and duration) and in the calls' acoustic structure (fundamental frequency and higher harmonics). The fundamental frequency decreased with age in all groups, most likely due to maturation of the vocal apparatus. In deaf cats, however, other aspects of the acoustic structure of the vocalizations did not fully mature. The harmonic ratio (i.e., frequency of first harmonic divided by fundamental frequency) was higher and more variable in deaf cats than in the other study groups. Auditory feedback thus affects the acoustic structure of vocalizations and their ontogenetic development. The study suggests that both the vocal apparatus and its neuronal motor control are subject to maturational processes, whereas the latter is additionally dependent on auditory feedback in cats.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Comparison of basic characteristics of vocalizations. a Number of vocalizations per session with no significant difference between hearing, hearing-impaired white cats and congenitally deaf (white) cats. b Mean vocalization duration showed significant effects only between hearing-impaired and deaf cats. c Mean level of vocalizations was significantly higher in deaf cats than in all other animals. Two-tailed t test. **∼ p < 0.01; ***∼ p < 0.001
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Fig4: Comparison of basic characteristics of vocalizations. a Number of vocalizations per session with no significant difference between hearing, hearing-impaired white cats and congenitally deaf (white) cats. b Mean vocalization duration showed significant effects only between hearing-impaired and deaf cats. c Mean level of vocalizations was significantly higher in deaf cats than in all other animals. Two-tailed t test. **∼ p < 0.01; ***∼ p < 0.001

Mentions: First, the general properties of the vocalizations were analyzed groupwise for all ages pooled, with means calculated per session; these were then pooled irrespective of age, resulting in a grand mean. The animals vocalized quite often in the soundproof booth: they generated 200–600 vocalizations per session (Fig. 4a). This high frequency of vocalization was attributable to the unfamiliar environment, the social separation and the limited space in the cage. There was no difference in the rate of vocalizations between the animal groups (hearing vs. impaired: p = 0.557; hearing vs. deaf: p = 0.172; impaired vs. deaf: p = 0.09). This was still evident when comparisons were performed within one age group (all p > 0.05). However, the deaf animals tended to exhibit the longest vocalizations (Fig. 4b; hearing vs. impaired: p = 0.165; hearing vs. deaf: p = 0.063; impaired vs. deaf: p = 0.0094).Fig. 4


Auditory feedback modulates development of kitten vocalizations.

Hubka P, Konerding W, Kral A - Cell Tissue Res. (2014)

Comparison of basic characteristics of vocalizations. a Number of vocalizations per session with no significant difference between hearing, hearing-impaired white cats and congenitally deaf (white) cats. b Mean vocalization duration showed significant effects only between hearing-impaired and deaf cats. c Mean level of vocalizations was significantly higher in deaf cats than in all other animals. Two-tailed t test. **∼ p < 0.01; ***∼ p < 0.001
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4487352&req=5

Fig4: Comparison of basic characteristics of vocalizations. a Number of vocalizations per session with no significant difference between hearing, hearing-impaired white cats and congenitally deaf (white) cats. b Mean vocalization duration showed significant effects only between hearing-impaired and deaf cats. c Mean level of vocalizations was significantly higher in deaf cats than in all other animals. Two-tailed t test. **∼ p < 0.01; ***∼ p < 0.001
Mentions: First, the general properties of the vocalizations were analyzed groupwise for all ages pooled, with means calculated per session; these were then pooled irrespective of age, resulting in a grand mean. The animals vocalized quite often in the soundproof booth: they generated 200–600 vocalizations per session (Fig. 4a). This high frequency of vocalization was attributable to the unfamiliar environment, the social separation and the limited space in the cage. There was no difference in the rate of vocalizations between the animal groups (hearing vs. impaired: p = 0.557; hearing vs. deaf: p = 0.172; impaired vs. deaf: p = 0.09). This was still evident when comparisons were performed within one age group (all p > 0.05). However, the deaf animals tended to exhibit the longest vocalizations (Fig. 4b; hearing vs. impaired: p = 0.165; hearing vs. deaf: p = 0.063; impaired vs. deaf: p = 0.0094).Fig. 4

Bottom Line: In total, 13,874 vocalizations were analyzed using an automated procedure.The fundamental frequency decreased with age in all groups, most likely due to maturation of the vocal apparatus.Auditory feedback thus affects the acoustic structure of vocalizations and their ontogenetic development.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of AudioNeuroTechnology and Department of Experimental Otology, ENT Clinics, Cluster of Excellence 'Hearing4all', Hannover Medical School, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 35, 30175, Hannover, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Effects of hearing loss on vocal behavior are species-specific. To study the impact of auditory feedback on feline vocal behavior, vocalizations of normal-hearing, hearing-impaired (white) and congenitally deaf (white) cats were analyzed at around weaning age. Eleven animals were placed in a soundproof booth for 30 min at different ages, from the first to the beginning of the fourth postnatal month, every 2 weeks of life. In total, 13,874 vocalizations were analyzed using an automated procedure. Firstly, vocalizations were detected and segmented, with voiced and unvoiced vocalizations being differentiated. The voiced isolation calls ('meow') were further analyzed. These vocalizations showed developmental changes affecting several parameters in hearing controls, whereas the developmental sequence was delayed in congenitally deaf cats. In hearing-impaired and deaf animals, we observed differences both in vocal behavior (loudness and duration) and in the calls' acoustic structure (fundamental frequency and higher harmonics). The fundamental frequency decreased with age in all groups, most likely due to maturation of the vocal apparatus. In deaf cats, however, other aspects of the acoustic structure of the vocalizations did not fully mature. The harmonic ratio (i.e., frequency of first harmonic divided by fundamental frequency) was higher and more variable in deaf cats than in the other study groups. Auditory feedback thus affects the acoustic structure of vocalizations and their ontogenetic development. The study suggests that both the vocal apparatus and its neuronal motor control are subject to maturational processes, whereas the latter is additionally dependent on auditory feedback in cats.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus