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Summary

The study objective was to explore the effects of noise generated by a 2000 hp containership on the reaction of Chinese sucker Myxocyprinus asiaticus. The noise was played back for various durations (1, 2, 4, 8, 24 h) at 142.8 dB re 1 μPa. Immediately after the noise exposure, hearing abilities of the fish were tested using the auditory evoked potential (AEP) protocol and compared with the response to a control group with no noise exposure. After 1 h noise exposure no significant differences were found compared to control fish; however, significant auditory threshold shifts began to occur at 800 Hz after 2 h of noise exposure. After 24 h of noise exposure, significant auditory threshold shifts were found at all tested frequencies (100–3000 Hz) when compared to control fish. Recoveries were also measured until the auditory thresholds returned to the hearing levels of the control fish. Auditory thresholds of all Chinese suckers fully returned to control levels within 96 h of recovery time. The results indicate that ship noise exposure can lead to threshold shifts in Chinese sucker and that these threshold shifts are temporary, referred to as temporary threshold shift (TTS).