According to Seaworld Parks and Entertainment, polar bears communicate with both vocal and non-vocal language. The animals use sounds such as hissing or growling to convey mood or emotion. They also use body language to let other bears know their intentions. This often involves touching the other bear with a paw.
Seaworld explains that polar bears make noise when they become agitated or threatened: They hiss, growl, chuff or champ their teeth. Cubs tend to make more noise than adult polar bears. Common cub noises include: squalls, hisses, lip smacks, whimpers and throat rumbles. An adult polar bear makes noise to warn the cubs of danger. When a threat is present, the mother polar bear makes a loud braying or chuffing sound. Chuffing is a sharp, puffing sound like a steam engine.
Polar bears show affection and initiate play with non-vocal gestures. Mother polar bears comfort and protect cubs by muzzling them or touching their bodies with their paws. These same gestures can also be used to scold the offspring. When male cubs want to play with one another, they approach the other cub with their heads downs before touching it on the mouth or neck with its own mouth. Polar bears stand on their hind legs and push each other over with their front paws to begin playtime.