What is Hearing Loss and Deafness in Dogs
An injury or illness can cause a hearing loss in dogs.
Hearing loss or deafness in dogs is the loss of the ability to hear and react to noises, loud sounds, and different frequencies. There are hairs in the inner ear near the ear drums which move and vibrate to sound waves, picking up the sounds and turning them into pulses that we sense as hearing.
If those hairs are lost or the hearing center of the ear is damaged, a dog may become deaf. Hearing loss may be partial, meaning there is only a loss of certain sounds (low voices or high squeaks), or it may be in the form of total deafness. Some hearing loss is normal with age; 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 a pronounced hearing loss or an injury or it may 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 a higher risk of deafness. Deafness is usually not reversible.
How Can I Prevent Hearing Loss and Deafness in My Dog
You may want to prevent hearing loss in your furry friend by protecting his ears. If your dog is near loud noises, such as city work, trains, or explosion site, placing protective gear over the ears to muffle the sound might help. It is a good idea to treat any ear infections or other ear problems in the initial stages and keep the ear clean and free from debris to slow down 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 that your puppy or adult dog is deaf, it is best to bring him to your local vet. The vet can perform a simple hearing test or he may refer your pooch to a specialist for further tests to check for signs of hearing loss or deafness. If the vet suspects a chronic condition or infection or trauma to the ear, he may recommend treatments to heal the ear and prevent the loss.
Natural Remedies for Hearing Loss and Deafness in Dogs
Natural remedies to boost immunity and prevent ear infections can help with hearing loss. Bergamot can help reduce the amount of yeast or bacteria in the ear canal and Geranium can help in the case of suspected fungal infections. Niaouli can be used as a natural paste for cleaning the ears and removing debris. It is important to treat chronic infection in the long-term to reduce hearing loss.