Cows Would Probably Prefer Less Cowbell, Study Finds

The Dodo:

The iconic clanking of bells worn by bovine has been a part of idyllic countryside soundscapes for centuries, helping herdsman keep better track of their cattle grazing in the fields — but as it turns out, unlike Christopher Walken’s character in that famous Saturday Night Live sketch, cows would probably prefer a bit less cowbell.

According to a new study out of Switzerland, researchers from Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich found that the sounds produced by those heavy, metal bells wasn’t so pleasing to the animals who are forced to wear them. The team found that the ringing heard by cows laden with cowbells reached as high as 113 decibels, about as loud as a jackhammer.

“If someone had an eight-hour work day in 100-decibel noise, it is bad for his health,” says acoustics expert, Beat Hohman, to newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag. “In humans we would expect a hearing impairment to develop after being exposed to this high noise for a certain length of time.”

Researchers note that cattle’s hearing is much more sensitive than humans, making the deafening sound of metal on metal exactly that; they suspect that thousands of cows have lost their hearing because it.

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