We have some sensational news for those of you with significant hearing loss–you may be able to receive your very own hearing dog! Not only are these fluffy creatures great for love and affection, they can also help relieve anxiety and provide independent living. How exactly could a hearing dog help out?
A hearing dog at home alerts its owner of sounds around the house that are prevalent to everyday life. Dog are primarily trained to sounds around the house such as fire/smoke alarms, the telephone, timers, alarm clocks, doorbells/door knocks, name calling, a child’s cry, the microwave, and more. A hearing dog provides safety alerts as well as sounds that can improve the convenience of everyday living.
In public the most important thing a hearing dog can do is make its owner aware of the surrounding environment. When a hearing dog and their owner are trained together it becomes easy for the owner to take cues from the dog. A person with hearing impairment looks at the dog’s reactions to sounds and is made aware of the environmental factors she/he might not be tuned into.
The training process is thorough but not too extensive and many times the dog can be trained to respond to specific, repetitive sounds that occur often in your life. The dog typically alerts the owner by pawing or other forms of physical touch such as nudging or prodding.
Hearing dogs are not a necessity, however they greatly improve quality of life and help ease the anxiety of people with hearing loss–especially those who are parents and worry about the safety of their kids. Being comfortable in your own home is incredibly important, and with the help of a hearing dog you can achieve peace of mind that your home and family is completely safe.
There are many organizations out there that have hearing dog programs including Canine Companions for Independence, Paws with a Cause, Dogs for the Deaf, and many more. Pick the organization that feels best for you!
Generally speaking the requirements for getting a hearing dog are:
- must be at least 18 years old
- must be deaf or hard of hearing
- fill out an application (sometimes fee may be required)
- have the time/effort to train a dog for your partnership
- be able to financially care for the animal
- have a stable home environment