Can you hear that? Hearing loss in dogs is a common issue. Approximately 5% of dogs suffer from hearing loss at any given time, a statistic which excludes dogs that are deaf due to genetic factors. Most hearing loss in in dogs either due to old age or repeated exposure to loud noises.

Hearing Loss In Dogs – How To Tell

If you are concerned that your dog may be experiencing hearing loss in dogs, there are some important clues that you can watch for. Be on the look out for these 4 main indicators that your dog may not be hearing as well as they used to hear:

  • Lack of response
    Does your dog respond when you give your dog commands?
  • Sleeping through sounds
    Perhaps there is a noise that always used to wake your dog from sleeping and now your dog sleeps through it easily.
  • Startling easily
    Does your dog now become startled at noise that used to be perfectly okay with your dog?
  • Excessive barking
    Some dogs that experience hearing loss will bark or whine a lot more than normal.

Current Research – Working Dogs Can Develop Hearing Loss

We’ve discussed hearing loss in senior dogs before, but did you know that hearing loss in dogs can happen at any age? Younger dogs in working roles such as hunting dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and more can begin to suffer from hearing loss as a result of exposure to loud noises (source). Some of those loud noises include gun shots and construction noises.

How does exposure to loud noises cause hearing loss in dogs? It is very similar to hearing loss in humans. There are small hairs, known as cilia, located in the dog’s cochlea, a part of the dog’s inner ear. Normally, these cilia vibrate in response to sound waves and send signals to the brain. These hairs become damaged by being rattled by the exposure to loud noises.  

The Danger Of Above 85 Decibels

How loud is too loud? Joshua Leeds, the president of BioAcoustic Research Inc., would say that anything above 85 decibels (dB) is too loud for dogs to hear as these sounds could cause hearing loss in dogs (source). This is what he had to say:

“Above 85 dB, you start playing with auditory fire. Inside the inner ear, irreparable cilia cell damage worsens with length of exposure and higher decibel levels. Your dog’s inner ear works in exactly the same way yours does and has an even wider range of frequency.”

Joshua Leeds, President, BioAcoustic Research, Inc.

Let’s back up a moment. Sounds are measured in Decibels (dB). Each increment of 10 dB represents a sound that is a tenfold increase in sound energy. So, a sound that is 20 dB is ten times as loud of a sound as 10 dB is. Some examples of dangerously loud sounds are listed below:

  • Screaming child – 90 dB
  • Lawnmower – 90 dB
  • Power Drill – 110 dB
  • Ambulance – 130 dB
  • Gun shot – 130 dB
  • Fire Engine Siren – 140 dB
  • Boom Cars – 145 dB

Prevention Is The Key

With all of the sounds that could be dangerous to a dog’s hearing, it may seem like hearing loss in dogs is inevitable. How could you possibly avoid every screaming child or lawn mower? However, hearing loss in dogs is preventable with hearing protection. CrittEar dog earplugs fit perfectly into your dog’s ear canal and prevent dangerous noises from being able to reach the dog’s inner ear. They can buffer noise down to 31 dB – the sound level of conversation. Even if your dog already has some hearing loss, CrittEar dog earplugs can help prevent your dog’s hearing from getting any worse. Available in a 3-pack, these CrittEar dog earplugs are small in size and easy to keep in your home, purse, and car so that you are ready for noises wherever you might find them!

9 Replies to “Current Research on Hearing Loss In Dogs”

  1. This is great information! I especially like the decibels of what’s too loud for our dogs. That’s very helpful. CrittEar dog earplugs really are a game changer! I’ll be passing this along.

  2. So interesting! I knew that hearing loss in seniors was common but never thought about it too much in younger dogs. I never thought about such common sounds, such as a lawnmower, being loud enough to potentially cause hearing loss.

  3. I had no idea the noise level of a crying child is equal to that of a lawnmower! LOL This information is very helpful. It’s great CrittEar offers 3 packs for ear plugs as pet parents can store extra plugs in the glovebox of a car or suitcase on the road. This way one can be prepared for different situations that may present elevated dangerous noise levels for dogs.

  4. So, a gun dog is going to be a definite victim of hearing loss aren’t they? Those decibels sound terribly loud even as figures! People need to know about this AND the fact that there are alternatives to the risk of hearing loss in dogs.

  5. Yes, yes, yes, and yes! My little old man Henry ticks all of the boxes to the signs of hearing loss. The excessive barking is our biggest concern as it’s proving to be a bad example for the other two.

  6. I never thought about loud noises for working dogs could cause hearing loss, but it makes so much sense. Is law enforcement and other service dog organizations aware of these ear plugs for dogs?

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