Skip to main content

Table 3 Startle thresholds for various mammalian species expressed in units of sensation levels

From: Repeated elicitation of the acoustic startle reflex leads to sensitisation in subsequent avoidance behaviour and induces fear conditioning

Species Startle threshold (pure tones): sound pressure level Underwater: re 1 μPa In air: re 20 1 μPa Hearing threshold Hearing threshold (average across studies) Sensation level (dB re hearing threshold)
Human Homo sapiens
(in air)
92 dB re 20 μPa; data taken from [42] (1 kHz)
rise time: 5 ms (extrapolated)
dB (A) weighting 0 dB re 20 μPa 92 dB*
Rat Rattus norvegicus
(in air)
Mean ranging from 85 - 95 dB re 20 μPa [9] (between 7 and 40 kHz)
rise time: 5 ms
Mean ranging from 0 to 8 dB re 20 μPa (between 7 and 40 kHz) [9] not used 87 dB**
Mouse Mus musculus
(in air)
89 dB re 20 μPa (hybrid of strains) (5 kHz) [26]
rise time: 0 ms
15 dB re 20 μPa [43]
(house mouse)
only one study included 74 dB*
Grey seal Halichoerus grypus
(underwater)
155-160 dB re 1 μ Pa
mean: 159 dB
(1 kHz, this study)
rise time: 5 ms
76.6 dB re 1 μ Pa [44]
67 dB re 1 μ Pa [45]
54/56 dB re 1 μ Pa[46]
(harbour seal, Phoca vitulina) data; behavioural audiogram for grey seals not available)
66 dB re 1 μ Pa (1 kHz, extrapolated) 93 dB*
  1. * value derived from data in paper
  2. ** value directly reported in original publication
  3. Table 3: Mammalian startle thresholds expressed in units of sensation levels. The data show that startle thresholds expressed in units of sensation level (level in dB above hearing threshold) are relatively uniform among mammals (if rise times of about 5 ms are used)