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hearing aids for dogs

Hearing Aids for Dogs

The average human can hear between 20 Hz and 20 kHz, but did you know that cats hear 55 Hz to 79 kHz? Or that dogs have a range of 67 Hz to 44 kHz? These numbers are impressive and mean that animals may hear better than us, but unfortunately; they too can suffer from hearing loss. So, are there hearing aids for dogs? Find out in this blog.

 

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

 

Since your dog can’t say “What?” when they cannot hear you, there are other ways to tell if your dog has hearing loss. They will not respond to squeaky toys, clapping, yelling, doorbells, or other common sounds. They may be difficult to wake up and may be startled since they did not hear you approach. They also may bark more because they cannot hear themselves.

 

Hearing Loss Causes

 

Similarly to human, animals lose their hearing if their ear is damaged – particularly the tiny hair follicles and nerve endings within the ears. Nerves will degenerate in older animals, and some may be born with poor development of their nerves. Tumors or ruptured eardrums can also cause the damage, as well as inflammatory disease or trauma. Canine distemper virus affects dogs’ hearing in particular, though this can be prevented with vaccine.

 

Hearing Loss Treatment

 

About 80 percent of hearing loss cannot be reversed, but scientists are working hard on regenerating hair follicles to improve that number. Gerbils hear in a way similar to that of humans, so they are the main test subjects. Any breakthroughs with this group could be a breakthrough for humans with hearing loss. Researchers in the U.K. were able to inject stem cells from the animals into immature nerve cells and restore hearing by up to 46 percent over the course of 10 weeks. This type of follicle replacement helps with auditory neuropathy, which accounts for 15 percent of hearing loss. For most other types of hearing loss, there is not yet a treatment. Animals have to adapt to their environment with worse hearing. Loss of hearing does not affect them as strongly as it does human, and their other senses will overcompensate to make life easier.

 

Hearing Aids for Dogs

 

Like with humans whose poor hearing cannot be cured, hearing aids can be an option for dogs. A doctor at Auburn University in Alabama took a basic human hearing aid and mounted it on a dog collar. He then took a plastic tube to connect the aid to a foam plug within the dog’s ear canal. Clearly, not all dogs would be tolerant of this, though smaller dogs had more patience with the foreign object in their ear. Because of the risk of rejection, hearing aids for dogs are not all that common and are fairly expensive. Doctors are working on cochlear prostheses or implants for dogs, however, they too are extremely expensive and there is still risk that it will not be effective. Deaf dogs do not understand they are deaf and may still respond to sign languages, so the step of hearing aids for dogs may be extreme and ill advised. Watch out for your pet and provide them the love and attention they deserve!

By: Diana Michel

5 responses to “Hearing Aids for Dogs

  1. Can you Please give the name of the Dr at the University of Alabama so I can find out how his hearing aid worked? And, who are the Dr’s working on the cochlear prostheses & implants? Leaving concerned pet parents without completed information for further help is very unfair! Please provide full information. Thank You, Vickie Flippen

  2. Our puppy was sold to us deaf. A vet wellness check was done and we were told what a great pup we had; great disposition and healthy. A hearing test was not done. We are heartbroken. For anyone to knowingly sell unhealthy animals should be a crime.

  3. My 12 year old cocker spaniel seems to have lost hearing in the last few months. She is in great shape and her twin also keeps her apprised, but I do know she misses our voices. Please let me know when you know the hearing aids are available.

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