A turtle's ears are flat against the head, but a turtle can hear as well as a cat. Turtles have the same inner ear mechanisms that other animals do, and they also have an auditory nerve and the brain center required for hearing.
The shape of the outer ear in most animals helps to gather sound vibrations and carry them to the inner ear. Because their ears are flat, turtles cannot hear airborne noises as well as other animals. In spite of this, turtles can sense and interpret vibrations in the environment. Their sense of vision and smell are excellent, which makes it less important for a turtle to hear sounds very well.