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Most bats have noise-cancelling genes that may stop them going deaf

A brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus)

blickwinkel/AGAMI/T. Douma/Alamy

Echolocating bats have noise-cancelling genes that may help explain why they don’t go deaf despite producing very loud ultrasonic sounds as they fly. The finding could help unravel how echolocation evolved and might also lead to treatments for hearing loss in humans.

Most bats produce and hear intense high-pitched sounds that bounce off objects, enabling them to navigate and find food in the dark. These sonar calls are beyond human hearing’s frequency range, but they are often louder than 100 decibels. Some bats can …

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