|Barked: Wed Jun 29, '11 12:56am PST |
|Hearing impaired dogs do startle easily.
The following are some simple tests you can try at home if you suspect that your dog is deaf.
It is almost impossible to test a unilaterally deaf (deaf in one ear) dog at home with any certainty.
Keep in mind that when doing these tests, the louder the sound, the stronger the vibration.
Any vibration or air current that the dog detects can, and probably will, get a response that makes you think that the dog can hear.
A unilaterally deaf dog should hear the sounds, but not be able to tell where they originated.
It may look around (even looking away from the source) to see where the sound came from.
While trying these tests, be sure your dog is not looking in your direction, or in the direction of the distraction.
You can also try a test when your dog is asleep.
If necessary, have someone hold the dog facing away from you.
Some hearing tests you can do at home:
• Jangle keys, a rattle, or a can of coins
• Squeak a toy (be sure that air from the toy doesn't hit the dog - try it behind your back)
• Call your dog in a normal voice - try yelling
• Clap your hands (you should be far enough away so that he doesn't feel air movement)
• Whistle or blow a whistle
• Turn on a vacuum cleaner (be sure it's far enough away from the dog so that the vibrations or airflow don't reach him)
• Bang two pots together (be careful of air vibrations reaching your dog)
• Ring a bell or have someone ring your telephone or doorbell
Remember that if the dog is unilaterally deaf, you will get a different response depending on which side it is sleeping on or from what angle the sound has been directed.
Some deaf dogs may hear very low or very high-pitched sounds.
They may perk up, look around and have an expression on their face that asks, "What was that?"
This could be an advantage if it's true for your dog - try using a dog whistle and see if you get a response to it.
If your dog doesn't hear normal sounds at normal volumes, chances are that it is deaf.
Ask your vet or trainer if you feel the need for a second opinion. Like we said before, the only way to know for certain is to have the dog BAER tested.
A BAER test is the only 100% reliable method for determining that a dog is deaf (or for measuring the extent of its hearing loss).
BAER (pronounced "bear") stands for "Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response" and is a procedure using computers to record the electrical activity of the brain in response to sound stimulation.
This is the same test used to check the hearing of human infants, and measures the same range of hearing.
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