Hugo, our listening dog, is not a Hearing Dog for someone with hearing impairment, but if he was, his ears would probably be very useful. With a dog’s hearing being far superior to human hearing, dogs can really make a difference to the life of a deaf or hearing-impaired person.
It is thought that dogs hear about four times better than we do. The world is a noisy place for dogs, who can hear things like the bodily vibrations of termites in the walls.
Take a look at the NZ website of Hearing Dogs. Specially trained Hearing Dogs provide valuable services to deaf and hearing-impaired people in much the same way as guide dogs for blind people. In 1998, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People NZ was formally established and incorporated as a charitable trust. Hearing Dogs have the same access rights as Guide Dogs for the blind - they are allowed into all public places, including food premises.
The longest ears on a dog measured 31.1 cm (12.24 in) and 34.3 cm (13.5 in) for the left and right ears, respectively, on 8 June 2010. They belong to Harbor, a Black and Tan Coonhound, who is owned by Jennifer Wert of Colorado, USA. Harbor is a seven-year-old Coonhound who weighs a healthy 40.51 kg (89.2 lb).
Floppy, folded, small, large - dogs’ ears come in many shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose - as funnels for sound.
But sad to say, from birth deafness has been reported in 85 breeds of dog, for example, Dalmatians. Older dogs can develop hearing problems as well.
University of Cincinnati researcher Pete Scheifele, also the director of UC’s Bioacoustics and Canine Audiology Clinic, is developing a hearing aid that will help dogs with acquired hearing loss.
Ears to communicate:
Dog ears are also designed to communicate. According to WebMD for pets:
- Naturally held ears indicates being relaxed and comfortable
- Ears flattened to head show submission or fear
- Raising ears shows alertness (and they’re usually directed toward source of interest)
- Up and forward ears can indicate aggression
- Pulled back ears are a sign of friendliness.
Ears that move:
Can you move your ears, even at all? Dogs’ ears move independently of one another.
Dogs’ ears have at least 18 muscles work to tilt, raise and rotate these furry appendages, helping the dog identify and capture sounds from different directions.
And for most dogs, the ears can significantly enhance their facial expressions, so see if your dog is smiling or looking grumpy today!
Poorly dog ears:
Apparently, dog ear problems are the number one dog health issue.
But we don’t use our microscope to look in or treat dogs’ ears at Ear Suction Hawkes Bay, so you’ll have to take yours to the vets!