This week is National Deaf Dog Awareness Week.
Just how well is your canine companion able to hear? Are you aware of the means by which you can assess your dog’s hearing? Such are questions you may or may not consider pending the overall health of your dog and his current age.
According to Starkey.com, one in five American adults suffer from some degree of hearing loss (over 36 million people). The statistics are worse for senior citizens, as one in three Americans over the age of 65 are hearing-challenged.
Typically, people take for granted their own hearing and that of their dogs until there is a problem. Once it’s established that hearing is partially or completely lost, the ability for it to return is variable, depending on the cause.
Most pets exhibit normal hearing throughout their lives, especially during the juvenile and adult life stages. Senior pets (those older than seven) and those having ear diseases, trauma, toxic exposure, glandular disorders, and cancer are most prone to becoming hearing-compromised.
How to tell if your dog is hearing compromised
Owners can perform a basic assessment of their dog’s hearing a couple of ways. First, closely observe of your pooch’s day to day habits. You may note that:
He doesn’t come greet you after being made aware of your return home once the garage or front door opens and closes.
Your dog no longer responds to the calling of his name or other sounds to which he would typically turn his head or adjust his ear position
He may only respond to your presence after feeling the vibrations of your footsteps on the floor.
Your dog is no longer aware of other household canine or feline companions who now can seemingly sneak up and encroach upon his personal space.
You can test your dog’s hearing by standing in a location where he cannot see you and making a sharp audible sound (loud whistle, clap, jingle of keys, tap on a fixed or movable object, etc.). If there’s no head turn or altered ear position, then he may not hear you so well.
Any concern for hearing loss should be immediately addressed with a veterinarian. As part of a physical exam, an otoscope should be used to visualize the ear canal and tympanum (eardrum).