Dolphins and humans are really not too dissimilar. We both have families, as well as social groups. We speak in different “dialects” and evidence suggests that some dolphins also can even learn each other’s dialects.
And just like us with our own individual names, dolphins within a social group have personalized whistles for each other.
Like us, communication is likely to be critical to a dolphins wellbeing. So being unable to communicate may influence the stranding of some dolphins.
Recently a rough-toothed dolphin, found stranded in Orlando, Florida , has been receiving extensive health care from the Animal Rescue Team who have been trying to identify the cause of its stranding.
A hearing test by the SeaWorld zoological experts revealed the dolphin had a hearing loss which the team believe is the likely reason for its stranding. This is not the first time a dolphin has ended up stranded in the waters of Florida.
A study done by David Mann et al. showed that four out of seven stranded bottlenose dolphins had severe to profound hearing loss. Whether the dolphins hearing loss can explain why they end up stranded still needs more research.
Judy St. Leger, director of pathology and research at SeaWorld San Diego, tells Live Science: “We’re at a stage right now where we’re determining the extent of hearing loss [in dolphins], and figuring out all the potential causes. The better we understand that, the better we have a sense of what we should be doing [about it].”