How To Tell If Your Dog Is Deaf?
Deafness is the complete or partial loss of hearing. It might occur temporarily or permanently, and it might affect one or both ears. Deafness can occur in humans as well as in animals. There are several causes and symptoms associated with deafness in dogs, and we will analyze all of those in detail in this article. So, if you are a worried dog owner who is really confused about their dog’s hearing abilities, you have landed at just the right article!
Can you tell your dog has become deaf? Do you want to make sure your pet is healthy and happy? Do you think your dog isn’t able to hear his surroundings properly? This article will tell you what signs you need to look for to figure out if your dog is deaf or not, so stay with us and walk through the end.
Temporary And Permanent Deafness
Also known as transient deafness, temporary deafness is caused due to the excessive buildup of ear wax and debris in the ear. In contrast, permanent deafness is caused by a range of factors, including old age, ear infections, congenital disabilities, and injuries.
Symptoms Of Deafness in Dogs
You can look out for the following signs that indicate deafness in your dogs. Older dogs have a higher chance of getting deaf as compared to younger ones. The symptoms listed below suggest that your dog has a problem with hearing.
- If your dog isn’t obeying your commands and isn’t paying attention to your instructions, you might want to get his ears checked by the veterinarian. When your pup refuses to listen and respond to your commands, it sure might be frustrating, but you have to be patient because your dog’s behavior might be suffering from hearing loss. You can perform some home tests to check your canine friend’s hearing.
- Your dog starts barking excessively. Like people, dogs also try to vocalize more when they cannot hear. Since they can’t listen to themselves, they don’t know their pitch and therefore keep barking loudly.
- Your dog start will start dozing off at random hours during the day! When dogs suffer from hearing loss, they begin to sleep for longer times and therefore interact less with their fellow dogs and humans. When facing this issue, make sure you visit the vet with your dog for a checkup because, in these situations, you might think your dog is sleeping excessively because of an illness, but, in reality, he might be getting apathetic and dozing off excessively because of experiencing a lack in hearing.
- Your dog will start shaking and startling excessively! This is called ‘startle reflex, and it occurs when your dog is facing difficulty in hearing. When he loses his hearing ability, he will fully rely on his functional senses. He will feel as if his four functional senses will compensate for the loss of hearing, and as a result, he will start moving, startling, and barking more than usual. On being touched by people, they become scared and alarmed. Similarly, they become panicky and frightened when they see shadows of someone approaching or feel anybody’s presence nearby.
- Your canine friend will stop responding to the high-pitched commands when his hearing is impaired. He will not be running to approach you when you blow a whistle to call him, and he won’t be running around the lounge when there’s a knock on the door or ring at the bell, and he won’t be running to grab his food when you pour his favorite snack in his bowl!
- He might start tilting his head randomly.
Is Deafness Permanent? Has My Dog Lost His Ability Once and For All?!
Are you worried if deafness in dogs is permanent? No, that’s not always the case! Sometimes, your dogs have temporary hearing issues that are caused by ear infections or excessive buildup of debris. These hearing issues can certainly be cured easily by giving your dogs the appropriate medications. So it is imperative that whenever you suspect your dog’s hearing abilities are impaired, you should immediately schedule an appointment with the vet and get your pup checked.
How Will, the Vet, Check My Dog’s Hearing Ability?
The veterinarian will perform a full medical exam on your dog. Your dog’s ear canal will be inspected thoroughly for infections or debris accumulated. If a high amount of earwax is found, all the piled-up wax will be cleaned with proper clinical utensils. Your dog’s ears might also be severely inflamed or injured.
Inflammation is caused by air allergens, contract irritants, foreign objects, or food.
The vet might also check your dog’s hearing by clapping behind his back to check if your dog responds to it. Usually, the veterinarians perform the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) Test to check the dog’s hearing abilities. It was initially used to check deafness in human babies but is now used to evaluate hearing in dogs. The BAER test is an electrodiagnostic test that assesses the ear canal and some selected areas of the brain stem. This test only takes around five to fifteen minutes. It also determines the dog’s hearing threshold, and in some cases, anesthesia is recommended.
The BAER Testing has some advantages that are mentioned below:
- First, BAER testing diagnoses hearing loss at an early stage; this is beneficial because early diagnosis encourages the treatment plan to start early, and thus the chances of improvement in hearing increase greatly.
- It thoroughly assesses the brainstem and checks if it is malfunctioning. In case of a dysfunctional brainstem, the veterinarian can prescribe medication for your dog to alleviate the hearing ailment.
- It can diagnose conductive hearing loss as well as sensorineural hearing loss. Most of the time, deafness in dogs is hereditary, and this type of deafness can, fortunately, be resolved by medical treatments, hearing aids, or even hearing implants.
- On the other hand, sensorineural hearing loss is caused by the malfunction of the cochlea or the vestibulocochlear nerve. The tiny ear cells become damaged, and it is mostly caused due to aging. It can be effectively cured with hearing aids.
Can I Perform a Quick Hearing Test at Home?
If you suspect your dog is developing a hearing impairment, but unfortunately, you cannot immediately consult a veterinarian, and you are extremely worried, you can perform some quick and easy tests at home to check your dog’s hearing ability.
The tests are really easy and natural. For example, clap your hands, knock loudly at the door, or start whistling at the top of your nose; If your dog doesn’t respond to any of these sound stimuli, he has likely lost his hearing sense.
An absence or lack of response to any of these sounds mentioned earlier indicates that your pet is losing his hearing abilities, and it is time to seek professional help.
One major red flag you should look for is when your dog is unresponsive to your commands and shouts.
All in all, you should get your dog checked whenever you notice that your dog isn’t responding to your commands, is being startled when he is being touched, is dozing off at unusual timings for long hours, and is barking excessively.
Deafness is not always permanent. Appropriate medication and treatments can make your dog’s temporary deafness go away. However, permanent deafness will require your dog to use hearing aids as the deafness cannot be fully treated. Don’t worry, even if your dog goes deaf, you can learn appropriate communication and training techniques to talk to your dog. You can also train him to save himself from potential dangers from harming him, such as other animals and vehicles.
We hope after reading this article you got a better sense of understanding on how to identify that your dog has difficulty hearing.