Horses have been a part of society for many years and not just in equestrian sport! They’re also well-rounded working animals on farms and are part of the mounted police force, not to mention they make fantastic companions too!
With the Adelaide Cup just gone we thought there would be no better time to share some wonder-foal facts about horses and their ears!
1. Horse have 10 different muscles in their ears!
These extra muscles allow the horses to flick their ears 180 degrees which helps them identify where sounds are coming from. They can also move their ears independently to one another, and are funnelled in shape (like most mammals) to help amplify sound.
2. A horses hearing is similar to humans.
Horses hear sounds over a wider range of frequencies than we can, however the decibel level they respond to is very similar to us. People with good hearing can perceive sound in the frequency range of 20Hz – 20,000Hz, while a horses hearing is reported as 55Hz – 33,500Hz.
Dogs can hear much higher than both us and horses, with frequencies as high as 45,000Hz!
3. Their vision is better than their hearing.
Hearing serves the same purpose for all mammals; it allows us to detect other animals and sounds. Once detected our ears help us to identify where the sound came from so we can visually pinpoint it and asses if it is a danger or not.
Horses aren’t great at this; mostly because their vision is so good they rely more on their eyesight than their hearing to identify danger.
A horses ears don’t need to be 100% accurate regarding location of sound, just enough to direct their gaze so the horse can examine it.
4. Hearing loss can affect behaviour.
Horses with hearing loss may show changes in their behaviour – not responding to voice cues or being more anxious than usual. These symptoms aren’t too dissimilar to humans who experience hearing loss!
It can be harder to detect when a horse is suffering from hearing loss as they are great at communicating in other ways. Thanks to their excellent eyesight, horses will pay close attention to slight changes in pupil size, muscles twitches and changes in body language.
5. Horses tell a story with their ears!
Horse’s ears are primarily for hearing but they also use them to express emotions and communicate with one another.
When a horse pulls its ears back this usually indicates they are angry and may be warning another horse to stay away.
If the ears are held forward and the horse is alert, it means their listening. Whereas if the ears are tipped forward, stiff and the nostrils are flared, I means the horse is scared or they’re really interested in something.
If you feel like you or a loved one have become about more anxious about being in loud places like restaurants, it might be time to get your hearing tested! Call our lovely team on 8331 8047 to a FREE hearing test at one our clinics.