a pod of dolphins swims next to a Blue Wave Dolphin Cruise

01 Aug How Do Dolphins Hear?

How Do Dolphins Hear?

If you are planning a trip to Myrtle Beach this summer, then the chances are that you have added a dolphin watch to your list of things to do. The South Carolina coast is home to the ever-beloved bottlenose dolphin, and these magnificent creatures have made Myrtle Beach their home year-round. For this reason, thousands of tourists make their way to the South Carolina coast every year and add a dolphin watch to their list of Myrtle Beach things to do.

But as individuals and families prepare for their dolphin watch and get closer and closer to the day of their scheduled dolphin tour aboard the TURSI-OPS, it is only natural to have questions about dolphins and what will be seen throughout the adventure. Though the Blue Wave Adventures team will share educational information about dolphins during the tour, many people enjoy reviewing a brief lesson on dolphins in advance. It seems there are many fun facts about dolphins, but one of the things we get asked about most is how dolphins hear. So, let’s take some time to talk about how dolphins hear, especially with those tiny little ears.

Do dolphins have ears?

We get asked this question all the time because when we look at dolphins, we don’t see anything that resembles ears like what we are used to seeing on humans and other mammals. The truth is that dolphins do indeed have ears, including middle and inner ear canals. The bottlenose dolphin’s jawbone contains sound receptors that create sound vibrations that are sent to the middle ear to top it off. So even though dolphins don’t have external ears, they leverage the two tiny openings on the sides of their heads to hear.

What is echolocation?

If you have done any reading up on dolphins, you have probably heard the term echolocation. To define it simply, echolocation uses sound waves and echoes to ascertain where objects are in space. For example, bats send out sound waves from their mouth or nose. Then, when those sound waves come into contact with an object, an echo is produced. The echo then bounces off the object and makes its way back to the bats’ ears. The same process happens with dolphins.
Dolphins leverage echolocation under the water, similar to how whales do. The process of echolocation allows the bottlenose dolphins of Myrtle Beach to find objects under the water through the transmission of sound waves. For example, dolphins can create a high-pitched sound pulse or generate a clicking noise in their foreheads that sends sound signals into the water. The echo produced by the sound bouncing off of these objects assists dolphins in determining how far away a thing is and then find them.
Dolphins sense the sound vibration returning to them through pulses that they feel on their jaws. Objects and animals in the water send different types of echoes, and dolphins can determine the difference. So, not only does echolocation help dolphins determine the distance of an object, but they can ascertain the texture, shape, and size of an object too. Dolphins use this fantastic scientific method to communicate with one another, determine predators’ locations, and fine food.

Ask us More About Dolphins on your Dolphin Watch

The Blue Wave Adventures team is happy to answer any questions you might have regarding dolphins during your dolphin watch cruise aboard the TURSI-OPS or the Osprey dolphin cruise. We’ve learned quite a bit about dolphins doing what we do, and we love sharing insights to help you appreciate the majesty of these beautiful creatures. So, if you haven’t yet added a dolphin watch to your list of things to do in Myrtle Beach, now is the time to do it. Just click on Book Now on the Blue Wave Adventures website to see pricing and availability.