Dogs are our faithful sidekicks, fur babies, and most trusted companions. Unfortunately, our furry pals can suffer from ailments just like us. Whether you have a dog that was born with a hearing impairment or one that is slowly losing their hearing due to age, seeing your dog struggle can be heartbreaking. Of course, when this happens, you want to find out more about what options you have.
One of the biggest questions hearing-impaired dog owners ask is, are there dog hearing aids? There aren’t any hearing aids on the market made specifically for dogs, but that doesn’t mean your veterinarian can’t help. In fact, one US-based research lab can customize human hearing aids to work for dogs. This process can be a bit tedious but it is a way to help your pooch’s hearing when things aren’t up to par. Let’s take a deeper look at hearing aids for dogs and a few tips that can assist you in caring for a hearing-impaired dog.
Knowing When Your Dog Is Hearing-Impaired
The first step to getting your dog hearing aids is to determine whether they are truly hearing impaired. Of course, your veterinarian can perform the BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) test. The BAER tests for electrical activity in your dog’s auditory pathways found in the brain and inner ear. This test can also determine whether your dog is suffering hearing loss in one or both ears.
But what signs can you look for to let you know when you should take your dog to the veterinarian for a hearing test? Here’s a look at a few of the things you may notice when your dog’s hearing is becoming an issue.
If you notice any of these issues with your dog, call to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss your options.
What Are Hearing Aids for Dogs?
Just like for humans, hearing aids used for dogs amplify the sounds that are entering the ear canal. This means a dog that is considered a good candidate for these adapted hearing aids must have some level of hearing remaining. The process involves taking human hearing aids and mounting them on a dog’s collar. The hearing aids are then connected to your dog’s ears using tubing that attaches to a wearable earpiece. This practice is only being done at a single clinic in the US, so be prepared that most dogs won’t have the opportunity to get one. However, most dogs make an adjustment to hearing loss without much trouble!
When a Dog Hearing Aid Isn’t an Option
Whether your dog has completely lost their hearing making them unsuitable for a hearing aid or you don’t have the option for a hearing aid, there are ways to live happily with having a hearing-impaired dog. Let’s take a look at those now.
Speak with Your Veterinarian
We can’t stress how important it is to keep the veterinarian involved in your dog’s hearing journey. By visiting the veterinarian when you notice an issue, you can have your dog properly tested and diagnosed. You and the veterinarian can then discuss all options. They will even give you tips on how to care for a hearing-impaired dog.
Learn to Use Hand Signals
When your dog can’t hear you well, finding other methods to communicate is needed. Luckily, if only your dog’s hearing is affected, they can still see you. With a bit of practice and work, you and your dog can come up with hand signals so you can give commands when needed.
Protect Your Pooch
If your dog is losing their hearing, that means they can’t hear the dangers around them. Traffic, dangerous animals, and other situations can leave you as the one responsible for keeping your dog from getting hurt. With lowered hearing ability your pooch will need you more than ever.
Don’t Startle Your Dog When Getting Their Attention
A startled dog can react in unpredictable ways. This includes those that are losing their hearing and aren’t aware of your presence. Instead of walking up behind a hearing-impaired dog, try other approaches. Approaching from the front, blowing on your dog, stomping your feet, or even flickering the room’s lights can alert your dog to your presence.
Dog hearing aids may not completely restore a dog’s hearing, but they can improve the situation. If you feel that your dog is suffering from hearing loss, reach out to your veterinarian. They will help you get your dog properly tested, discuss ways to make your dog’s life easier, and keep an eye on your dog’s progress. If your veterinarian feels dog hearing aids are a viable option for your pet, taking advantage of this customized hearing accessory may help improve your pet’s hearing to a degree, but until it is readily available, most dogs will adjust to life without, just fine.
Featured Image Credit: megaflopp, Shutterstock