Canine companions: a healthy choice for the hard of hearing

Canine Companions: A Healthy Choice for the Hard of Hearing

Matt Dearing Hearing Loss

It’s no secret that trained service dogs have amazing benefits for veterans, the elderly, and people with impaired vision, but did you know that they can do wonders for the hard of hearing as well?

Hearing dogs are very similar to seeing-eye dogs. They are trained to assist their owner and make their lives easier, and are usually identified by marked collars or vests. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, hearing dogs, just like seeing-eye dogs, are allowed to accompany their owners into any public establishment.

More than just man’s best friend

Hearing dogs are usually trained from 3-12 months by organizations such as Dogs for the Deaf or Canine Companions for Independence. In some cases, an owner can train their own dog. Each dog is trained to listen for common important sounds such as smoke alarms, a knock at the door, or a ringing phone. They can even be taught to recognize when the owner’s name is being called. When the dog hears a sound it knows it is important, it makes contact with its owner and leads them towards the source of the sound. As each dog grows more accustomed to the owner’s environment, it will begin to recognize other sounds, like a brewing tea kettle or a crying baby.

Imagine not being able to hear your alarm clock or even oncoming traffic – with a trained canine companion by their side, the hard of hearing gain a new sense of independence and freedom in their daily lives.

Hearing dogs are usually chosen from animal shelters, which helps give the pups a new home and a new purpose in life. Smaller breeds are more commonly chosen, but this can vary based on the needs of the owner. More important than the size of the dog is its personality. They need to be energetic in order to respond quickly to the sounds they hear, and, of course, they must be friendly and enjoy being around people!

Furry friends lead their owners to love and independence

Those who are affected by hearing loss may experience feelings of frustration and loneliness, and it may affect their ability to hold a job. Their condition cannot be seen by others and it is difficult for them to communicate. Hearing dogs can help make the transition easier for their new owners. These dogs not only provide companionship and ease of mind, but can help improve their owner’s self-esteem and renew their interest in being social and partaking in their favorite hobbies. While hearing dogs are trained to help their owners better live and communicate in their environment, the benefits that come with the unconditional love of a furry companion are just as valuable.

If you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, consider looking into getting a hearing dog. There are many organizations across the country that offer hearing dogs to those in need for a low fee. If you are unaffected by hearing loss, consider donating to the hearing dog organization nearest you.


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