A lot of animals have excellent hearing abilities, but a parrot is not one of them. A parrot’s hearing is alright. That’s because a parrot is a bird, and birds don’t have an extraordinary hearing power compared to other species.
Let’s answer the question at hand in more detail.
Parrot’s Hearing VS Human’s Hearing
You are probably asking yourself, how does the parrot’s hearing compare with a human’s hearing?
Well, the parrots lack that one organ that is necessary for hearing- ears. And that’s why they are far behind humans in terms of hearing power. Maybe they don’t have those lobes because they would come in the way of flying. The lack of ears makes flying much easier for them.
That’s one reason why humans are ahead in hearing. Secondly, with the absence of ears on the outside, the feathers of a bird cover the ears entirely on the inside. Yes, birds do have ears, and they are underneath the feathers. You will see them if you part the feathers.
The feathers cover the ears to keep them off the wind so that they can fly seamlessly. But what enhances their flight depreciates their hearing ability.
An average person can hear between 20 Hz to 20 kHz, but our feathered friends make do with about half of it, from 7 kHz to 10 kHz, most commonly at 8.5 kHz, though. If you want to experience to know how much a bird can hear, make yourself listen to sound waves of 8.5 kHz. To put it more simply, you can hear like a bird when you are over 60 years.
Parrot’s Hearing Analysis
Let’s dive deep into the structure of the parrot’s ears but in layman’s terms.
Parrots have a three-bone structure of ears, and those three bones are incus, stapes ear bone, and malleus. This structure makes them more capable of hearing than their reptilian predecessors that had just one bone in the inner ear.
In simple words, the parrot’s hearing may not be as strong as to hear a clock ticking, leaves rustling, or a pin dropping. That’s because these sounds are pretty inaudible or not as loud. But they can effortlessly hear the unmistakable sounds.
For instance, you don’t have to consider your parrot as a grandmother hard of hearing. They can hear human sounds or voices with ease.
The positive side to their hearing is that they don’t get bothered as we do by loud sounds like a baby wailing, a ball hitting a metal object, or the annoying sound of the chalk screeching on the blackboard. The lack of hearing in a parrot acts as a blessing to handle noisy sounds so much better.
Maybe because they can’t hear as much, parrots can scream quite loud to the extent of deafening you for a moment. But, their loud cries don’t impact their hearing or other birds. Thanks to their inner hair cells. Their hair cells work as receptors of sound vibration to further convert them into an electrical signal for the brain to process.
Too loud a noise may damage the hair cells. But a parrot’s hair cells tend to grow back, giving them the ability to hear again.
Parrot’s Hearing VS Other Birds’ Hearing
A parrot has better hearing power than other birds. Most birds can hear from 1,000 Hz to 4,000 Hz. But there are birds which can hear up to quite a range.
For instance, the Canary can hear from 1,100 Hz to 10,000 Hz. On the other hand, the Horned Lark can hear from 350Hz to 7,600 Hz.
So, we can safely say that although their hearing may not be as good, parrots still seem to do much better in hearing than other birds. Yet, they are not the best amongst the bunch.
Q. How do parrots mimic so well despite their sub-par hearing?
A. Parrots mimic well because of their brain, not their ears. Their hearing is just sufficient to be able to hear the human voice. But their brains make them much quicker in interpreting sounds and objects. They are much faster than us humans. What they lack in hearing, the brain makes up for it.
Q. Can parrots talk?
A. Technically, yes, because they are excellent with mimicry. Parrots imitate the sounds and words they hear daily and repeat them at different timelines of the day, making them look like they are talking to us.
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For instance, if a parrot asks you how you are, they don’t ask this question to know your state of mind. But the statement is something they have picked up and learned to communicate. Parrots imitate their owners, ignorant of what they are speaking.
Q. Do parrots have ears?
A. Parrots rather have ear holes instead of whole ears. Their feathers cover the ear holes entirely to make it easier for them to catch a flight. You will need to part their feathers to be able to see their ear holes.
Q. Is a parrot’s hearing better than humans?
A. Parrots are much faster with distinguishing sounds that make you believe that their hearing is better than humans. The truth is it’s their brains that make up for the lack of hearing. As revealed earlier, a parrot’s hearing ability is about half as good as humans. They can’t hear as loud as us but are quicker with picking up sounds as their brains signal them to do so. And that’s the impressive part because parrots do brilliantly well, not just receiving sounds but sensing them.
To conclude, we can say that parrots have a fair hearing, not excellent but not terrible either. They may not be at par with humans in terms of hearing, but they certainly are much better than other birds. They can hear a more extensive range of sounds and frequencies than other birds of the same kind.
They may be half as good as humans but two times more impressive than other birds with hearing. And since they are so quick with receiving sounds, they make excellent mimics.