Is my dog deaf?

Dogs can be stubborn, which is why it's common for pet owners to wonder if their dog is deaf. We share some home tests which can help you find out!

9th May 2016

Hearing is an invaluable sense for any animal, with dogs being no exception.

Although deafness is more likely in certain breeds of dog, there isn’t a single breed that is completely exempt from developing and suffering from a lack of hearing.

It can often be hard to tell if your dog has any auditory issues like deafness as they rely greatly on smells and vibrations, which can often mean that many hearing issues can go undetected.

Here’s our quick guide on how to determine if your dog is suffering from deafness:

BAER tests

A BAER test is the only definitive way to give you the exact status on the health of your dog’s ears.

The test, which stands for Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response, records the electrical activity in a dog’s brain in response to sound simulation and can help to identify any hearing problems your pet may be experiencing.

Due to a puppies ear canal only opening at 2 weeks old, the BAER test can only be performed on dogs over the age of 6 weeks.

Although the test is not painful for your pet, they may struggle with keeeping the equipment on. It can also be expensive which is why there are a few home tests which can help to identify if your dog is deaf.

Home tests for deafness

It can be hard to determine whether your dog is deaf or just stubborn, but these home tests can help to rule out any potential hearing issues:

Clapping hands

Clapping your hands is a great way to detect deafness in your dog, but it’s best to do it whilst standing further away.

Because dogs rely on air movement and vibrations to detect any sounds around them, they may be able to pick up on air movement and in turn, respond to your clapping.

This can lead you to believe that your dog isn’t deaf, so clapping your hands whilst at a fair distance from your pet can help to eliminate the chances of them responding to changes in the air.

Ring the doorbell

Dogs are smart animals and when you leave a room to test their hearing, their senses will be heightened. This may not give you an accurate picture of your dogs’ auditory health, so try getting somebody else to make a noise unexpectedly.

A great way to try this is to organise somebody to ring the doorbell from outside when the dog is sleeping, eating or roaming the house. A response from them when it’s unexpected can mean that they aren’t suffering from deafness.

Bilateral vs. Unilateral deafness

If your dog is giving you a different response to each of these home tests depending on the angle or side of noise being projected, they may be experiencing a different type of hearing problem.

Unilateral deafness happens when the hearing is only damaged in one of your pets’ ears, whereas bilateral deafness is diagnosed when both ears are affected.

Dogs that are bilaterally deaf often carry the genetic material for deafness, so it’s important to speak to your veteraninan on how to help manage their condition so that they can live a happy and fulfilled life.

Our dog insurance page gives you all of the information you need about covering your dog for hearing-related health issues, and tells you which conditions are covered in the plan.

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