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5 Ways to Protect Your Dog's Hearing

Dog with Headphones
Hearing Helpers

Promote your dog's hearing by having his ears checked during regular visits to your family veterinarian to:

  • Identify any current concerns
  • Monitor hearing loss or improvement
  • Recommend measures to improve hearing or delay loss of hearing
  • Show you how to communicate with a hearing impaired dog

Tips to protect your dog against potential hearing loss:

  • Avoid sudden loud noises
  • Avoid sharp or high pitched noises
  • Provide nutritious meals and snacks for optimum health
  • Provide a safe, quiet environment during holiday or family festivities
  • Prevent exposure to loud, repetitive noises

The acuity of your family dog's hearing far surpasses that of humans.  Hearing is a critical sense to dogs, and when diminished, will increase dependency on the sense of smell.  When a dog hears something, he can hear it without moving his head.  Many muscles surrounding the ears help dogs get premium sound reception.

Unlike humans, dogs are able to change the position of their outer ear so they can focus on a specific sound.  When a dog lifts his ears or turns them, the outer ear allows him to magnify incoming sounds.  Dogs with very long ears usually don't hear as well as dogs with smaller ears, floppy ears or triangle shaped ears.

"Contrary to popular belief, dogs cannot hear noises from miles away. Dogs and people hear noises coming from the same distance away," advises Rena Sherwood in How Does A Dog's Hearing Differ From A Human's.  People hear about 20,000 vibrations of sound per second.  Dogs can hear two to five times the number of vibrations!

Animals needed this extensive hearing capability when they lived in the wild.  Those living in the wild maintain the acuity just as those living in our homes.

Domestication of dogs as household pets hasn't changed their excellent hearing abilities.  Because our dogs seem to hear sounds before we do, they often seem to warn us of impending danger.  Heroic stories are often shared about pets saving their owners or family members from fire, earthquake, predators and intruders.

Hearing loss in dogs is caused by many of the same things that cause hearing loss in humans.  Hearing loss may be the result of a variety of causes including infection, trauma, noise, aging, drug toxicity and inherited genetic defects.

According to the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund, "Hearing loss affecting both ears is called bilateral deafness. A bilaterally deaf dog is completely (or mostly) deaf in both ears. Hearing loss occurring in, or affecting only one ear, is called unilateral deafness. A unilaterally deaf dog has hearing loss in only one ear and has full hearing in the other ear."

Laura Derrington advises in The Structure of Dog Ears, "Excessive ear wax can cause temporary hearing loss, especially in breeds with narrow ear canals, such as poodles. If a dog has a lot of hair around its ear, the ear canal can get blocked. A foreign object such as a toy or stick that becomes lodged in a dog's ear also can reduce hearing."

How can we preserve this wondrous hearing capacity our furry family members have?  Five tips below will help you ensure your dog's clear, unimpeded hearing:

  1. Prevent your pet's exposure to sharp, unexpected noises.  This includes loud, repetitive noises that can cause trauma in dogs and humans.
  2. Shield or protect your pet's ears from contributors to noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) including:  party noise makers, fireworks, explosive devices, fire and police sirens, hammering, jackhammers, always-on loud music, construction site activities, race car engines, airplane engines, and gunfire.
  3. Have ears checked regularly and cleaned as necessary by your family veterinarian.
  4. Monitor children and toddlers in the dog's presence so that doggie ears (like a child's ears) are not used to stash crayons, marbles, coins or other foreign objects.
  5. Provide well balanced meals containing the nutritional components your vet specifically recommends for your dog's good health and well being.

Your dog will feel and perform his best when you work with your vet to do all possible to preserve his health, well being and excellent sense of hearing.

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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