Last Updated on March 8, 2023 by Ali Shahid
Parakeets are loving and playful birds with excellent learning and cognition abilities. They have an improved sense of sight and hearing and thus respond quickly to external stimuli. In terms of sounds, parakeets do have ears that are quite unique in contrary to human ears.
The ears of parakeets are located internally and you can only see a glimpse of them when you look closely behind the feathers. Mostly the ears are visible after your parakeet takes a fresh bath in water. According to a recent study, the hearing power of parakeets is nearly the same as that of humans.
Solely in the United States, making parrots as pets is becoming popular day by day with an immense increase up to 20 million from 2015 to 2017. It has been estimated that nearly 68% of US households have a pet according to a statistical survey by Emma Bedford.
Do Parakeets Have Ears
In my opinion, they have a much better sound reception and hearing power. This is the proficiency that enables them to mimic the music tones and human speech. Pet parakeets are extremely sensitive to sounds and this will assist them in the navigation in their natural habitats.
Why Parakeets Ears are Special?
Not only the ears are sensitive to sound but they help the parakeets to respond quicker according to the situation. The power of hearing is very crucial for every animal and bird living in the wild as it alerts them about the predators nearby.
The absence of outer ears in all birds including parakeets is supplemented by the presence of specialized feathers called Auriculars. These feathers cover the ears and that’s why they aren’t visible to you unless wet.
If you have ever wondered how parakeets are able to catch the sounds without any external ear, the answer lies in the shape of their skull and internal ear. The different sound-catching frequencies of the eardrums assist them in finding the correct sound direction.
According to a German study published in 2014, scientists found the effect of one side noise on the pattern of parakeets’ eardrum vibration. The study concluded that the birds can reflect, absorb and diffract sound waves through their specialized ears and analyze the origin and magnitude off I coming sound.
Apart from the perfect hearing and sound catching sense, parakeets have an excellent ability to store different sound patterns in their brain. The perfect pitch combined with enhanced memory is what helps them stay in flocks.
Parakeets often produce high pitch flock calls to know the position of other individuals in the flock. The proficient sound picking ability is what parakeets’ ears are developed for to check in about the flock conditions in the surroundings.
How to Locate Parakeet Ears?
Unlike other mammals, the distinctive structure of parakeets’ ears is what makes them special. Not only in appearance but the location is quite tricky to find if you don’t know where to look for. The funnel shape internal ear has two openings outside the head.
You can easily find the ear opening of parakeets just behind and slightly below the eyes. Adult parakeets possess one internal ear with both side eardrums that vibrate according to the nature of sounds.
If you want to examine and thoroughly see the ears, you have to locate the auriculars which are residing right on the openings. As a veterinarian, I recommend you to wet your fingers with water and gently rub it on the given location.
The auriculars become wet and stick together to give you a clear view of the parakeet ears underneath. One thing worth mentioning is that unlike humans having an outer ear, the auriculars of parakeets act as an outer ear itself that redirects the sound in the ear canal.
The Difference Between Human & Parakeet Hearing
The narrower bandwidth of hearing in parakeets makes their hearing power slightly different from other mammals and humans. A parakeet can hear at a power range of 400 to 20,000 Hz which is his/her sensitive property.
Our hearing power range from 20 to 20,000 Hz which is also quite good but not as sensitive as a parakeet’s. The narrow range makes parakeets’ ears a lot more sensitive to the external sounds which they catch through Auriculars.
The wild flock calls and chants they make with their partners have a frequency of 2000 to 5000 Hz. Parakeets don’t hear lower tones and may need a higher volume sound to get heard properly. Humans, on the other hand, can hear both low and high tones with more accuracy.
Parakeet Hearing & Behavior
Most birds have a very jolly nature and they respond to pleasing sounds in an exciting way. Parakeets are no different in showing certain gestures and dance moves. Most of these birds love to listen to serene and ear-pleasing music.
As a veterinarian, I have come across many bird pet owners asking me what their birds like to hear. In that respect, parakeets are very sensible and they like to hear slow and quiet music. The soft and relaxing background music fills their ears with a more peaceful tune.
You can quickly observe if your parakeet likes his/her new music or not. To solve this mystery, all you have to observe is the specific happy chirp he/she makes at the start of the music. The calming effect of soft music on the parakeet’s brain is similar to humans on our favorite song.
Sounds & Music to Avoid
Parakeets are very selective in choosing what kind of sounds please them. You must not induce a complete silence where you are keeping your beloved parakeet. He/she might perceive this silence as an incoming danger and get stressed in such circumstances.
In my opinion, due to the sensitive nature and hearing ability, sudden loud noise burst must be avoided at all costs. Likewise, don’t try to play the loud sounds and music all the time without having a break. Some parakeets do not tolerate continuous sounds and get irritated easily.
The vibrant and party rock music is not recommended to be played near parakeets. The resonance of loud bass makes them scared of their surroundings in an instant because of the sensitive receptivity of parakeets’ ears.
If you don’t want your parakeet to go into stress, don’t try to abruptly increase or decrease volumes. In the wild, they have better reflexes at countering their predators based on the sudden sounds. But that is not the case if you have pet parakeets at home.
Parakeet Hearing & Voice Training
As I’ve mentioned the exceptional cognitive ability of parakeets in understanding distinctive sounds, they are also good at picking voice gestures. I count them as one of the most intelligent parrot breeds, I’ve encountered as a veterinarian.
Training parakeets to recognize you and respond to your voice is something you can do but at a low pace. They’ll surely be able to comprehend what you want to convey to them through voice. These cute creatures can be domesticated enough to socialize with their owners in a fruitful way.
With proper nurturing and managemental care, your parakeets can develop a very strong bond with you. Continuous mental stimulation through sounds is a great way to train your parakeets. The attachment with owners is their socially instinctive behavior.
Identifying & Treating Parakeets Ear Problems
Parakeets are beautiful pets to keep and caring for them is another domain you must focus on as a pet bird owner. The commonly present ear mites and fungal and bacterial pathogens are the main culprits of ear infections in parakeets.
Identification of ear problems in parakeets requires keen observation. The most common signs that signify the presence of ear problems is the vigorous head shaking and scratching. The normally hidden ear opening will get exposed by the continuous scratching and Auriculars damage.
Our pet parakeet will need immediate veterinary attention if you notice any solid yellow crap or mold growth inside the ear canal. You can use a simple Q-tip bud to quickly clean the ear canal using a drop of vegetable oil.
The tip of the Q-tip has a lot of cotton material which cannot be inserted in the small ear opening. As a veterinarian, I advised you to remove some of the cotton material from the bud before initiating the cleaning procedure for easy removal of the inside crap and wax.
Please beware not to insert the tip forcefully into the ear canal as it may lead to eardrum damage and pain. If you’re not aware of how to clean ear openings, I advised you to book an appointment with a nearby qualified veterinarian.
Your veterinarian will thoroughly examine the ear canal of your parakeet to rule out the possible cause of infections. He may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal ear drops depending upon the confirmatory diagnosis.
Parakeets have ears hidden behind the curtain of specially designed feathers known as Auriculars. Maintaining proper coordination and understanding the hearing needs of your parakeet is the way to let him/her enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Make sure not to bother your birds with loud and vibrant sounds and take care of their comfort. Parakeets love listening to calm and peaceful music and may show you their favorite dance moves to their favorite tunes. Taking care of their ears and making them live in the moment is your go-to option for a joyful and happy parakeet petting experience.
What to do if my parakeet has a sticky discharge and crusting around the ear?
The abnormal discharges and formation of crust around the Auriculars can be a sign of bacterial or fungal infection. You must take your parakeet immediately to a veterinarian for maximally fruitful diagnosis and treatment.
Can I play piano or instrumental music around my parakeet?
A piano is a great instrument to play if you have parakeets in your house. The piano has a relaxing and peaceful tune which is loved by your pet birds. Make sure not to play such music for prolonged intervals of time.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.