You want to be able to hear what’s going on around you. You expect it. Sometimes you even need to hear to be alerted to danger. Dogs have the same needs, but we expect them to adapt to life without their hearing. Some dogs can, so why use hearing aids for dogs at all?
It is amazing how many dogs live well up into their teens these days. It isn’t surprising with all the fine veterinarians and their modern techniques. As in humans, the older the population gets, the more certain conditions will be prevalent. Hearing loss is one of these conditions.
It should be easy to tell if your dog has a hearing problem. You can call him and call him and he won’t respond. Or maybe he will, but only if he’s looking right at you. He might even look the wrong way to find you when you call him. You might notice that he seems to be sleeping all the time, and when you try to wake him up, you can’t without touching him. And, just like a child with hearing problems, he might be fussing with his ears or shaking his head around. Hearing aids for dogs can help with these problems.
One clinic in Texas offers a hearing test to dogs that come in with suspected hearing loss. When the test is completed, the owner will know what kind of hearing loss the animal suffers from and if anything can be done about it. The center uses hearing aids for dogs in a plan that involves getting the dog used to the aid. This takes about a month during which the volume is slowly raised until it is at the best level. The aids cost about $250 each. These programs for hearing aids for dogs allow the dogs to get settled in to using them without too much discomfort.
One type of hearing aids for dogs is a contraption that is mounted on a dog collar. The container with the aid goes on the collar and tubes go from that to a foam plug that is situated in the ear of the dog. It is similar to a BTE, behind the ear, hearing aid in structure. Smaller dogs seem to take to these devices pretty well, but the larger breeds don’t seem to like them as much.
Some companies offer ITE, or in the ear, hearing aids for dogs. For these, the doctor takes a mold of the dog’s ear canal. This is sent in to the laboratory and a human ITE is built into it. Whether or not a dog will take to the testing and fitting and finally the hearing aids’ being put in his ears is questionable. Some will and some won’t. Many owners feel that it is worth the expense and the trouble to try. In fact, there are some pet veterinary insurance companies that pay the cost for them.
Nothing is quite the same to a dog as the sound of his owner’s voice. He will be safer because he is better able to sense danger. He will be happier because he won’t be confused about unnatural changes in his world that hearing loss brings. Hearing aids for dogs can make their lives so much better. To many owners, that’s reason enough.
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