We have a Shepherd/Boxer mix named Sophie. She is
10 years old. She seems to have lost her hearing
over the last six months. Is it her age or could
there be another cause?
Janis and Charles
Regardless of whether they listen to too much heavy metal music as puppies, dogs are prone to hearing loss when they are elderly.
Hearing and visual impairment are common among older dogs, cats and humans. Hearing loss usually is related to degeneration of internal structure within the ear. Similarly, poor eyesight generally is caused by changes inside of the eyeball.
Certainly other causes of hearing loss are possible. Ear infections, wax plugs in the ear canals, and polyps or tumors growing in the ears can cause decreased auditory acuity. A veterinarian should take a look at Sophie to make sure none of these problems is playing a role in the situation.
There may not be much that can be done to restore Sophie’s hearing. However, there is good news. Hearing loss rarely interferes with quality of life–even though dogs generally don’t wear hearing aids.
Photo: Sophie shows off the ears in question.