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5 Surprising Ways To Save Your Dog’s Hearing

5 Surprising Ways To Save Your Dog’s Hearing

May 31 is Save Your Hearing Day. Let’s also make it Save Your Dog’s Hearing Day. It’s extremely common for senior dogs to gradually lose their hearing, often until it’s completely diminished. However, there are many small changes we can make to our environment to help prevent their hearing loss.

Sounds are measured in decibels (dB), and each 10 dB increase represents a tenfold increase in sound energy. 90 dB is ten times noisier than 80 dB, 100 dB is ten times noisier than 90, and so on. Sound researcher Joshua Leeds, co-author of Through a Dog’s Ear, the first book to examine the powerful effect of the human soundscape on dogs, states, “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.”

Decibels of Common Household and Street Sounds

  • Whisper: 30
  • Normal conversation: 40
  • Dishwasher, microwave, furnace: 60
  • Blow dryer: 70
  • City traffic: 70
  • Garbage disposal, vacuum cleaner: 80

Danger Zone

  • Lawn mower: 90
  • Screaming child: 90
  • Power drill: 110
  • Ambulance: 130
  • Gunshot: 130
  • Fire engine siren: 140
  • Boom cars: 145

Steps You Can Take to Save Your Dog’s Hearing:

1. Take a sonic inventory.

Sound is like air. We rarely notice these two common elements unless the air suddenly becomes polluted or the sound becomes chaotic. The sonic inventory is one way of becoming aware of the noise in your pet’s environment.

See also: 5 Steps to Reduce Your Pet’s Stress

2. Don’t expose them to loud bands or loud street fairs.

Humans hear sounds between 20-20,000 Hz. Dogs hear at least twice as high, sometimes all the way up to 55,000 Hz. While I think it’s great that more events and public places are dog friendly, so often those environments are created for humans. A fundraising party for dogs and their people that benefits your local shelter, doesn’t benefit your dog when a loud band is playing. Please be careful of your dog’s sound environment.

See also: What Do Dogs Hear?

3. Provide simple sounds at home that calm the canine nervous system.

Minimize intricate auditory information found in most music. The clinically tested music of Through a Dog’s Ear is intentionally selected, arranged and recorded to provide easeful auditory assimilation. Three primary processes are used to accomplish this effect:

  • Auditory Pattern Identification
  • Orchestral Density
  • Resonance & Entrainment

See also: A Free Way to Help Animal Shelters

4. Be aware of your dog’s unresolved sensory input.

When it comes to sound, dogs don’t always understand cause and effect. You know when people are in your home yelling at the TV during a sports game that it’s all in good fun. But, it may not be much fun for your dog, who is still trying to orient whether all of those crazy sounds are safe. Put Fido in a back quiet room, listening to music especially designed for dogs. This can not only safeguard his hearing, but also his behavior.

See also: Do You Have More Dog Beds Than Dogs?

5. Don’t play two sound sources simultaneously.

Remember that your dog’s hearing is so much finer than yours. One family member may be in the living room blasting the TV, while another is in the kitchen listening to the radio. Your dog is caught in the middle, absorbing both sounds and getting stressed. Try and only have one sound source at a time, playing at a gentle volume.

See also: Symphony Hires Professional Dog Musicians

My senior dog, Sanchez, just turned 11 years old. I have been more cautious about his sound environment than any previous dog. I even play the grand piano with the lid down, as he loves to lay underneath it. I am happy to say that he has shown no signs of any hearing loss. Have your senior or other age dogs lost hearing? Have you learned how to help diminish that hearing loss? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

Delivering Calm, Four Paws at a Time!

Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Calm your Canine Companion music series when you sign up for the Through a Dog’s Ear newsletter and/or Lisa’s Blog. Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Humor & Inspiration, Pet Health, Pets, Safety, , , , ,

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


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9:05AM PDT on Sep 1, 2014


8:02PM PDT on Jun 26, 2014

Thanks for sharing

10:40AM PDT on Jun 20, 2014

many tahnks

11:29AM PDT on Jun 12, 2014

I've recently found myself thinking in terms of what sounds must be like to my pooches. A vacuum cleaner that is annoying to me must sound like a jet engine to them, so I try to get them in another part of the house before using it. And I'm more compassionate even about thunder, since it must sound like standing next to a cannon going off to them.

4:50AM PDT on Jun 12, 2014

good aerticle, thanks

7:52PM PDT on Jun 10, 2014

Good information. My dogs, who have made it to 14-15 currently and in the past, have all had hearing loss to the point that I have had to touch them to get their attention or rub them gently to wake them up. My girl now will sleep in the middle of the dining room to be able to see both entry doors because she has learned that she doesn't hear the doors open and close anymore and that, unintentionally, we scare her when we "appear".

The bigger problem here is the 4th is coming and the idiot neighbors (all around) are into the illegal, sky high, and loud fireworks. At least two months out of the year we have M80s and M100s (and others) going off to the point where the house shakes and windows rattle. I would love to put those rats in jail if I could catch them in the act and if the police actually cared.

7:17PM PDT on Jun 9, 2014


1:47PM PDT on Jun 9, 2014


11:12AM PDT on Jun 7, 2014

This goes for cats too!!! Soft classical music and low volume on TV are best.

6:20AM PDT on Jun 7, 2014

Very Useful...Thanks.

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