A study published in the The Journal of Experimental Biology entitled “Audiogram and auditory critical ratios of two Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris)” has investigated whether manatees’ hearing, or the lack thereof, is the reason behind them being the victim of boating inflicted injuries. Researchers from the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium have carried out tests on two manatees, and have found that they are capable of not only distinguishing sounds, but can also sense sounds within a frequency range far outside that of human hearing. In addition, the subjects were able to distinguish sounds against a background of other noises.
It is well accepted that manatees have poor eyesight, but this research suggests that their hearing should help them avoid contact with boats. The research continues to attempt to find out the reasons for the incidence of collisions with boats.