Mythbuster Monday: Horses Have More Muscles in Their Ears Than Cats

On Mythbuster Monday, we tackle a variety of equestrian myths to either bust or confirm. Today’s discussion: Do horses have more muscles in their ears than cats?

It’s Mythbuster Monday, where Horse Nation dives into different equestrian myths and provides research-based evidence to either bust or confirm those myths. Today’s topic: Do horses have more muscles in their ears than cats? Why do their ears have so many muscles? How does this compare to the number of muscles a human has? Does this mean they can hear better than humans and cats? Read further to find out!

Myth: Horses have more muscles in their ears than cats

Myth or Fact: Myth

Ears are an organ that control the ability to hear and regulate balance. Ears pick up sound waves, convert them into electrical impulses and then send them to the brain where the are processed.


According to an article by Value Hearing, humans can hear from a range  of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz but most of the sound we hear processes between 2000 to 5000 Hz. Humans begin to experience hearing loss at approximately eight years old. A human’s ear is comprised of three muscles.


This article also goes on to describe the hearing of cats. Cat ears have more than three dozen muscles that control their ears to give them 180-degree coverage. The article also states that cats have specific preferences in music, different cat purrs and the different bird chirps.

In an article by Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Associates, they state that cat ears have a hearing range of 45 to 64,000 Hz. Also, cats have more than 30 muscles in their ears and can rotate them up to 180 degrees.


The article by Value Hearing states that horses have a betters sense of hearing than humans but their hearing is not as great as cats. Horses can detect sounds at a much lower frequency than humans and cats at 14 Hz but can only hear up to 25,000 Hz. Horses have 10 muscles in their ears and, like cats, can also move them 180 degrees. Unlike humans, horses do not typically lose their hearing as they age.

Another article by Equine Wellness Magazine states that a horses hearing is not as well developed as other animals, such as a cat, because a horse’s ability to see is more advanced. Because a horse’s sight is so intricate, he only utilizes his hearing to pinpoint where something is coming from. A horse’s ears are utilized to aid in directing their gaze.


After diving into the research, cats have the most muscles in their ears, over 30, providing them with the most sophisticated hearing between them, horses and humans. However, horses have more ear muscles than humans, ten versus three, allowing them to hear better than humans. Horses utilize their hearing to pinpoint where sounds are coming from and can move their ears up to 180 degrees.

Do you have an equine myth you’d like us to tackle? If so, send it our way! Email your suggestions to [email protected]. Put Mythbuster Monday in your subject line.