Recently I have noticed Dolly has become increasingly deaf. I understood it to be as a result of strong antibiotics which were required after a recent operation. Her deafness has become so debilitating I wondered the possibility of “Hearing Aids For Dogs”
My Hearing Impaired Dog, What can I do?
Dolly had to have an operation for a uterine infection back in March, the antibiotics required were strong and one of the side effects was deafness. She is often confused, sleeps more and appears quite depressed. The idea of Hearing Aids for Dogs seems ludicrous and is it even possible ? I did some research and found that apparantly it is. Expensive Yes, reliable ….hmmm possibly, ….success rate…it depends. So I looked into what and how this could work
What Causes Deafness in Dogs & The Symptoms to look out for:
The first and obvious is wax build up, (just like us) and or ear infections, old age or even hairy ears in and around. Sudden deafness can be caused by several things for example trauma to head and ears, chronic ear infection or as in the case of Dolly, very strong antibiotics and just like the antibiotics used in Chemotherapy can also cause permanent deafness.
Temporary Deafness in dogs, with treatment, can be resolved, in the case of tumours causing a blockage they will need to be surgically removed
Having cleared out or cleaned your dogs ears. (There are some excellent products on the market with good reviews, check out this easy to use product from Paw Organics and can purchase through Amazon)
Symptoms To Look Out For
- Not coming when called
- Not hearing approaching footsteps/traffic or other noisy things like thunder
- increased startle reflex
- Sleeping more and subsequently difficult to rouse
- Head shaking
- Excessive or no barking when previously the opposite were true
You have now ruled out temporary hearing loss and now know your pet has permanent hearing loss, as a result you have started to look at Hearing Aids For Dogs as a possible and viable option. Is this even a possibility?
Answer – Yes
Exceptions include dogs born with the disability or those with a genetic issue.
Dogs who have suffered partial or even total loss as a result of old age, illness, ear infection or trauma can and do respond to this intervention and may well offer a solution to a hearing impaired dog.
Dogs who suffer deafness due to a genetic disorder will not respond, this because amplification will not help a dog (or Cat) with congenital deafness
Is The Investment Worth The Cost
Without a doubt this will be an expensive investment, in addition the success rate is not 100% or even guaranteed. In fact bizarrely the larger the dog the more likely the success rate is reduced. Vets have reported that smaller dogs like Terriers, Toys and Small Breed Dogs have a greater success
How and Where Do I Find Hearing Aids for Dogs
Custom made for your Dog and purchased from your Vet. Online or over the counter is not an available option. Like Human Hearing Aids a mold is made for your dog, (both ears) a simple procedure. This mold is then used as the exact fitting and will then be made in a laboratory. Come the time of fitting tests are performed on your dog in exactly the same way as they as performed on us, in fact the hearing aids are very similar.
Obviously it takes time for your dog to get used to an alien object placed in his ear and may require a “Buster Collar” or similar whilst they become accustomed to the device and will hopefully stop them scratching or dislodging.
How Much Will It Cost
I have researched the cost of Dog Hearing Aids for both the UK and the US market and both are similar pound and dollar price.
The UK is still somewhat behind insofar as trialing and US dog owners appear to to be more likely (at this stage) to consider the cost as a good investment.
As mentioned they are custom made and will be looking at around a cost of $3500-$5000 or £3500-£5000. They are a sophisticated device and can sometimes be funded by your pet insurance. In the first instance speak to your vet.
What Can you Do in The Meantime
I have found a really good “Deaf Dog” collar on Amazon which has the advantage of alerting visitors to the house, out on walk and other dog owners. (Click on the Highlighted link to take you to the product)
Add to it the Deaf Dog Lead/Leash and this ensures there is no doubt your dog is deaf and special consideration should be taken. Again this is a reasonably priced item from Amazon.
Hearing Aids for your dog may possibly be a good and practical solution. If you are unable or unwilling to fund the high cost, which has to date partial success in dogs with the smaller breeds offering best success, then maybe you will need to look at coping with your dog.
Dogs appear to cope quite well and often it is the owner who suffers the most frustration. With some thought and use of basic hand signals your dog need not be left on the side lines.
Basic Sign Language For Your Deaf Dog
1/ OPEN FLAT HAND DOWN . This is has become one of the universal sign for a “sit.” It’s a pretty natural movement that dog’s learn quickly.
2/ FINGER POINTING. This is great for teaching a deaf dog if you want him to go somewhere (i.e. a kennel or mat), or to fetch something.
3/ THUMB UP. Just like for people, you can use this sign to mean “good,” or “yes.” Since they can’t hear a clicker, this can be a great way to “mark” when your dog does something right.
4/ OKAY SIGN. This is another sign you can use to as a replacement for “good” or “yes.” Remember to also have positive facial expressions that help your dog understand you are happy.
5/ FINGER POINTING DOWN. This is the most common sign for telling a dog to “lie down.” Like the one for “sit,” it’s natural to do and easy to remember (which is important).
6/ TIME OUT SIGNAL. Although not commonly used in dog training, you could use it for “leave-it,” “drop,” or “quiet.” The nice thing about this sign is it is clearly different from the others, making it less confusing for your dog.
7/ GIVE OR COME TO ME – HAND OUT. This is usually used as a cue to get your dog to “shake” or “high-five.” However, for a deaf dog, you may use it to mean “come to me” or “bring me your toy” as well.
8/ TWO FINGERS POINTED AT EYES. You know the hand-to-eye signal the use in comedies to say “I am watching you”? Well, you could use this same gesture to get your deaf dog to “watch you” (i.e. give eye contact).
I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the above post and if you have any experience of “Hearing Aids for Dogs” either your own or that of a friend. In any event I would love to hear your comments which you can add below.
If you are at this point then thank you for reading until the end.
Cordelia and Dolly.
NB In the above post there are some Affiliate Links to Amazon, I do receive commission but there is no additional cost to you the customer should you click through the link