Hearing and Auditory Function in Ferrets
Nodal FR., King AJ.
© 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. This chapter provides an overview of current knowledge about hearing in ferrets and how this species is contributing to advances in understanding of many aspects of auditory function. In recent years, ferrets have become increasingly popular as an animal model for studying hearing for several reasons. First, as with their ability to see, the functional onset of hearing takes place in ferrets several weeks after birth, allowing postnatal access to an immature nervous system at a stage that can only be studied in utero in some other more precocial species. Second, the range of sound frequencies that are audible to ferrets entirely overlaps, and extends beyond, that of humans. By combining methods for selectively lesioning pathways with behavioral testing, studies in ferrets have provided the first functional evidence for the role that descending connections might play in hearing function.