About Us

UC FETCHLAB™ is the Facility for Education and Testing of Canine Hearing & Laboratory for Animal Bioacoustics. We are a community of clinicians and researchers from a variety of institutions and disciplines who have an interest in animals and their ability to interact within their environment.

Working together we are able to both learn from and provide services to the animals in hearing, vocalization and bioacoustics.

Our Mission

  • To enhance the understanding and interaction of humans and animals.
  • We are committed to enhancing our knowledge of canine hearing loss and its interactive effects on pets and their owners.
  • We are also dedicated to the advancement of understanding animal hearing and animal vocalization through research, education and collaboration.

Our Core Values

The University of Cincinnati’s FETCHLAB™ was the first institution the world to have the capability to teach animal audiology. The University of Cincinnati’s Graduate School offers an Animal Audiology Certificate to qualified candidates.

The educational objectives of this certificate program are to provide specialized training for Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) students, currently practicing audiologists and veterinarians in the practice of animal audiology, with an emphasis on canines and electrophysiological diagnostics. The certificate requires pre-requisite course work, courses in Comparative Auditory Vocal Mechanisms, a Seminar in Animal Audiology, clinical practicum in the UC FETCHLAB™ clinic and practical examination.

UC FETCHLAB™ is involved in a large number of studies regarding animal audiology, hearing management in canines, animal vocal mechanisms, noise impacts to animal hearing, and bioacoustics.

Our staff and students are always working on new research. Some of the present studies include:  PTSD in military working dogs, bioacoustics of asian small-clawed otter, bioacoustics of shark rays, bioacoustics of king penguins, diver audiology,  hearing protection devices for working dogs including ultra-wideband communication devices, canine hearing aids and noise mitigation in kennels.

UC FETCHLAB™  works with the Georgia Aquarium and Mystic Aquarium regarding auditory, sound production and noise issues with regard to their marine animals. We support the Department of Defense with clinical and research on working dog Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and audiological disorders.

Clinical Services:

Canine visitors to UC FETCHLAB™ receive noninvasive testing that goes beyond screening that measures behavioral responses to sound.  This includes auditory brainstem response (ABR), which provides an objective and quantitative measure of the electrical potential produced by the brain in response to sound by frequency; and otoacustic emissions (OAE) testing to measure the ear’s production of small echoes in response to sounds introduced into the ear canal.

While hearing screening tests are all that is required for many of the dogs examined, some may need diagnostic imaging studies to pinpoint the disorder’s cause and suggest management options.  UC FETCHLAB™ trainers can also assist dog owners or handlers to improve the safety and well-being of animals and the humans who interact with them.

In 2009, the clinic successfully tested the first canine hearing aids that were developed in the clinical laboratory at the University of Cincinnati.

 

Animal Safety and Well-being:

UC UC FETCHLAB™ research has included wide range of study including the acoustic modalities related to the breeding cycles of endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden; monitoring the acoustic conditions of beluga whales and whale sharks during the Georgia Aquarium’s expansion project and stress vocalizations of beluga whales at the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration; and the long-term environmental affects wind turbines introduce in the form of ground and aquatic vibrations.

Both terrestrial and aquatic animals depend on sounds for their survival. Almost every animal uses sounds for mating, infant-mother identification, social interaction, warnings, navigation, etc.  Noise pollution and hearing loss can have a disastrous impact, especially on endangered species.  Understanding animals’ auditory mechanisms and the sound environment in which they live is critical to conservation efforts and UC FETCHLAB™ is a leader in developing this knowledge base.

 

Bioacoustics of Controlled Environments:

Supporting exotic animals in captivity presents unique challenges.  For this reason, UC FETCHLAB™ makes its team of researchers and experts available to Zoos and Aquariums beginning with an initial consultation with its Primary Investigator, Dr. Peter M. Scheifele MDr, Ph.D. LCDR USN (Ret.).

 

FAQ’s