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Millions of years ago, all mammals lived on land, but at some point, several species left land and evolved to a life in the sea: think of seals and whales, which today are adapted to life underwater.

The rest who remained on land have similarly adapted to a life on land, and it can hardly come as a surprise that we humans today hear better on land than underwater — which is the conclusion from a group of scientists in a new study. But the study also reveals surprising news about human hearing..

Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard is an expert in animal hearing and in his laboratory at University of Southern Denmark, he tirelessly throws himself into hearing studies of animals such as cormorants, geckos, frogs, crocodiles — and now also humans. This time, emsam drug test together with Ph.D. student Kenneth Sørensen and biologist Magnus Wahlberg, also from University of Southern Denmark, and an expert in animal underwater hearing.

Decades of hearing tests

Since the 1950s, several different attempts have been made to measure human hearing underwater. The US military, for example, has had an interest in understanding how divers are affected by underwater explosions, and in general, the hearing tests have been very different.

Some subjects have been tested with diving equipment on, others with neoprene caps and still others with air-filled diving masks — all of which can affect the test subjects’ hearing.

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