What is hearing loss and deafness in dogs?
Illness and injury can also be culprits in decreasing one of your dog’s greatest senses.
Hearing loss or deafness in dogs is the loss of the ability to hear, react to noises, loud sounds and various frequencies. There are hairs on the inner ear near the ear drums which move and vibrate to sound waves, picking up the sounds and turning them into pulse we sense as hearing. If those hairs are lost, or the hearing center of the ear is damaged, loss can occur. Hearing loss may be partial, meaning there is only a loss in certain sounds (IE low voices or high squeaks), or may be total, which is called deafness. Some hearing loss is normal as a dog ages, however this process can be accelerated by problems with the ear including chronic ear infections or damage to the inner ear and eardrums.
Deafness, or complete loss of hearing, can occur as a result of pronounced hearing loss or injury or may also be genetic. Genetic research has shown that the deafness gene in dogs is linked to the white coat color gene so breeds with predominantly white coats, or those bred to create white or “merle” type coats are at higher risk of deafness. Deafness is usually not reversible.
How can I prevent hearing loss and deafness in my dog?
Protecting your dog’s ears and hearing are one way of helping prevent hearing loss. If your dog is near loud noises such as city work, trains, explosions, etc, placing protective gear over the ears to muffle the sound can be beneficial. Treating any ear infections or other ear problems early on, and keeping the ear clean and free of debris may also help slow or reduce hearing loss. Dogs with chronic ear issues may require surgical or other more aggressive treatment in order to protect the ears.
Genetic deafness may be preventable if matches between all-white or color recessive coat breed dogs are not made. While many breeders intentionally breed for these color patterns, it increases the risk of deafness. Careful selection of parents and lineage may help avoid deafness in puppies.
What should I do if I suspect hearing loss or deafness in my dog?
If you suspect your puppy or adult dog may be deaf, it is best to bring him or her into your local vet. Your vet can perform a simple hearing test, or may refer you to a specialist for more specific testing to check for hearing loss or deafness. If there is a chronic condition or infection or trauma to the ear are suspected, your vet can recommend treatments to help heal the ear and hopefully prevent loss from occurring.
Natural Remedies for hearing loss and deafness in dogs
Natural remedies to boost immunity and treat and prevent ear infection are best for helping with hearing loss. Bergamot can help reduce the amount of yeast or bacteria in the ear canal as well as Geranium for suspected fungal infections. Niaouli can also be used as a natural paste for cleaning the ears and removing debris. Treating chronic infection may help in the long-term for reducing hearing loss.