Do Elephants Have Good Hearing? (All You Need To Know)

We often hear comments like “you have elephant ears” when people tell you how good your hearing was. This is an expression that came from the essential fact about elephant ears. With that, let us learn more about the ears of the elephants.

So do elephants have good hearing? The answer is yes; they do have a good hearing. Elephants have one of the best hearings you can find in animals.

If you have received a comment about how you have elephant ears, you have excellent hearing. Elephant ears mean that you have an extraordinary ability to hear or listen to sounds. These sounds may include a very soft sound or even a whisper that ordinary people cannot hear, but you can. 

Elephant ears came from the fact that the elephants’ ears have a very acute sense of hearing. Elephants can hear frequencies that are twenty times lower than humans can. What is also amazing is that elephants do not just hear music or feel vibrations through their ears; they feel it with their trunks and feet too! 

Elephants’ ears are not just the part of their body that can hear and perceive sounds; their trunks and feet are also very good at picking up low-frequency vibrations. Because of the hearing of the elephants, they are one of the first kinds of animals that can feel an oncoming thunderstorm. 

This is very helpful to them because they can be prepared with the thunderstorm coming and move toward a place with food and water sources. How amazing are the elephant’s ears? 

We will learn more about that. So keep reading because, in just a few minutes, you will learn more about the elephant’s ears.

Can Elephants Hear Well?

Elephants can hear well. They are one of the animals which have excellent hearing. Elephants can detect sounds with low frequencies, as low as fourteen to sixteen hertz. 

The humans can only hear frequencies as low as twenty hertz, and elephants can still go as low as fourteen. Humans can also hear high frequencies with a range of twenty thousand hertz, but elephants can hear sounds as high as twelve thousand hertz. That is a huge difference, and that makes the ears of the elephant hear sounds more acute and much better than humans or any animals can. 

The elephants are using an infrasonic sound. These infrasonic sounds are emitted even below the human hearing range and in long-distance communication. There is also existing research claiming that the elephants can hear and recognize calls and voices of specific individuals from one kilometer to one point five kilometers in proximity. 

How amazing is that? Aside from that incredible ability, the elephant’s ears can also be used as a funnel in sound waves from the surroundings. This can contribute to the keen sense of hearing of the elephant. 

So as a fact, if you see animals that have massive heads and also have wide ears, you can conclude that these animals can adapt better in hearing lower-frequency sounds. This is mainly because if the animal’s head is large, it means that the animals also have a giant skull, and this large skull means that it can contain longer ear canals, wider tympanic membranes, and more oversized middle ears.

Related: Why Do Elephants Have Large Ears?

How Far Can Elephants Hear?

There is a group of researchers in Nambia that studied the hearing of the elephants. This group of researchers had found out that the elephants can hear and detect rain storms with a distance of one hundred fifty miles. 

They have correlated and tracked the elephants and rain over many years, and they have found out that elephants can indeed detect rain events even with great distances. The elephants are using infrasonic sounds. 

These are sounds that are produced below the hearing capacity of humans in long-distance communication. Research says that the elephants can hear and recognize calls and voices of specific individuals from one kilometer to one point five kilometers away from their position.

How Far Can Elephants Hear Each Other?

Elephants can hear other elephants, and they can also respond to the calls of other elephants from a distance of four kilometers away. It just means that an elephant can hear another elephant and communicate well within a fifty square kilometers range. 

Research stated that elephants could hear nine points eight kilometers away and within a one hundred square kilometer range. Around dusk, the elephants can communicate very well with each other, even with great distances between them.

elephant ear and hearings

Can Elephants Hear A Higher Frequency Than Humans?

Yes, elephants can hear a higher frequency than humans can. This is what makes them have better hearing than other animals and humans. 

The range of hearing of an elephant in high frequencies is between twelve thousand hertz and sixteen thousand hertz. The ears of the humans can only hear high frequencies with a range of twenty thousand hertz.

Can Elephants Hear A Lower Frequency Than Humans?

Yes, elephants can hear a lower frequency than humans can. This is what makes the elephants different from other animals or humans. The range of hearing of an elephant in low frequencies is somewhere between five to sixteen hertz.

Can Elephants Hear With Their Trunk?

It was indeed stated that an elephant’s trunk helps in the hearing of the elephants. This is also one of the reasons why elephants are magnificent at hearing. They do not just use their ears; they have their trunks and their feet also. 

A researcher focused mainly on the trunk and the elephants’ feet and their contribution to the perfect sense of hearing. It was then claimed that the feet and the elephant’s trunk are the primary receptors of low-frequency vibrations. You might already know the functions of the trunk of the elephants. 

The trunk is used for bathing, smelling, eating, drinking, and many more. But what is impressive is that this trunk is not just for the functions of doing an activity. The trunk also has two kinds of pressure-sensitive nerve endings. 

These nerve endings are Meissner’s corpuscles and Pacinian corpuscles. The Meissner’s corpuscles detect infrasonic vibrations.

On the other hand, the Pacinian corpuscles respond to the vibrations with a slightly higher frequency. The distribution of these nerve endings in the elephant’s skin is still not defined, but research revealed a high density of Pacinian corpuscles in the front of the elephant’s foot. There was also another research from Stanford University. 

There are scientists at Stanford University that have researched the elephant’s trunk and feet and their contribution to the hearing of the elephants. These scientists have found evidence supporting elephants using their sensitive trunks and feet to detect and even interpret low frequency seismically. These are low-frequency seismic signals from faraway herds or even a potential another elephant that they can mate with.

Also Read: Do Elephants Have Good Eyesight?


In summary, elephants have a huge body mass, and they have body parts that can do many things, like their trunks and tusks. But in terms of hearing, there are still more amazing things elephants can offer. They have one of the best hearings you can ever know. 

They can hear better than humans. Elephants are also known to hear or detect upcoming thunderstorms because they are so good at hearing vibrations.


Image credits – Canva

Share on:

I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more