Radio or Audiovisual Use in Animal Rooms
Approved August 18, 2005; Revised February 22, 2008; Revised January 22, 2009 (Download)
Background: Exposure to sound louder than 85dB can have both auditory and non-auditory effects on animals, including eosinopenia, increased adrenal weights, and reduced fertility in rodents, as well as increased blood pressure in nonhuman primates. Many species can hear frequencies of sound that are inaudible to humans, so the potential effects of sound-producing instruments such as radios should be carefully considered. When at all possible, activities that might be considered noisy should be conducted in rooms or areas separate from those for animal housing.
Policy: Unanesthetized, non-aquatic animals should not be exposed to radios, or other sound making devices, unless their use is justified in an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol or environmental enrichment program. Specifically, the environmental enrichment program for dogs and pigs will include the use of music in the housing rooms of these species. The level of music will be kept below 85 dB. This policy does not apply to facility and equipment alarms.
Aquatic animal species such as fish and certain totally aquatic amphibian species (Xenopus sp. and Ambystoma sp.), cannot hear the sound produced by traditional sound producing devices, like radios at 85db, in their aquatic environment. Therefore, the use of sound producing devices is allowed in aquatic animal housing areas provided that reasonable precautions are made to prevent the danger associated with exposure of water to radios plugged into electrical outlets (i.e., use of GFI outlets or placing the radio in an area that minimizes direct water exposure). When at all possible the use of individual listening devises is recommended (CD players, digital audio players, etc.).