Pets and Hearing Loss

Just like some degree hearing loss is a part of the human aging process it is also a part of a pet’s aging process as well. Cats and dogs often experience hearing loss as they get older and while your vet may be able to help to a certain extent – removing excess wax build up for example – there may come a time in your pet’s life when you have to accept the reality of living with a hearing impaired furry friend. This might take some getting used to but life with your cat or dog can still be every bit as rewarding for you – and them – as it ever was with a few minor adjustments.

Signs that a Pet is Suffering from Hearing Loss

All of the following are signs that your pet may not be hearing as well as they used to:

  • Does your pet jump or startle when you approach them from behind, or when they don;t have a clear view of you entering the room?
  • Has your dog stopped reacting when they hear the doorbell ring or someone enter the home?
  • Does your pet shake their head a lot or paw at their ears? This may be a sign of an ear infection.
  • Does it seem that your dog has become more disobedient and has stopped obeying your vocal commands in the way he used to? If so chances are that he is not being naughty he just can’t hear you anymore.

Helping Your Pet Live with Hearing Loss

Some causes of pet hearing loss can be treated but usually age related hearing loss is permanent. Here are some easy things that you can do to help your hearing impaired pet live a full life:

  • Vocal commands – sit, stay, stop – are probably no longer an option. Loud stomps can be a solution because your pet will feel the vibration even if they cannot hear it. Some dogs can also be taught to respond to simple hand signals.
  • Approach your pet slowly to interact with them if you are just entering the room where they are. Because they cannot hear your approach anymore they may become startled or upset and over time that could change the way they react to people.
  • When they are outside hearing impaired dogs should be kept on a leash. They cannot hear the approach of other animals or cars anymore so they are in danger if they are left to roam alone. If a cat has been used to going outside they should be brought inside and kept there, they just don’t have what it takes to survive outside once they cannot hear danger.