Is Your Senior Dog Losing Hearing? Here's How to Know for Sure

Is Your Senior Dog Losing Hearing? Here's How to Know for Sure

Author WDF Staff


Unfortunately, getting old is a part of life. One of the worst things that happen when we get old - our bodies deteriorate. You might not accept it, or you might feel young in spirit, but the truth is we will all get old at one point. The same is true for our dogs. We should prepare for age-related health issues, like arthritis or cancer. One of the most common ones is hearing loss.

Why is hearing so important for dogs?

Our dog’s ears are one of the ways our dogs examine and analyze the world around them. They will react to different stimuli in the environment and know the appropriate response. Another part of the dog’s life ears play a crucial role in is communication. Dogs use their ears to communicate with other dogs, and most importantly - with us. Dog owners can quickly get frustrated and angry. They might even think our dog is ignoring us. However, if you have a senior dog, you should make sure their hearing is not impaired.

labrador senior overweight

How can I know if my dog is losing its hearing?

The critical thing to remember in dog ownership is not to get angry at your dog. There are many reasons your dog might not be responding to you, and one of the most common ones is hearing loss. The easiest way to know for sure your dog is losing its hearing is by getting confirmation from your vet. In the meantime, you can learn the most common signs of dog hearing loss and make an educated guess.

Signs of dog hearing loss

Once a dog owner starts to suspect their dog might be losing its hearing, they will start looking for signs that will support that theory. All dog owners should pay close attention to their dogs, especially if they begin to behave unusually. Here are the most common signs a dog is losing its hearing;

  • No response to clapping
  • No response to other dogs barking
  • No response to squeaky toys
  • No response to their name being called
  • No response to car horns
  • No response to doorbells
  • Excessive barking

old dog on sofa

These signs are pretty hard to miss. The good news is that most dog owners will notice them pretty fast. That means that vets might have time to do something about it. The key thing to remember is that dogs that lack response to sound signals might have hearing issues.

Why do senior dogs lose hearing?

Dogs are not the only species whose health deteriorates as they get old. In fact, all living things, except for the immortal jellyfish, will eventually die, which means their bodies will deteriorate over time. Dogs can lose their hearing for all sorts of reasons. However, the most common reason senior dogs lose hearing is natural geriatric nerve degeneration. Simply put - the reason is old age. Some other potential causes are;

  • Prolonged exposure to loud noises
  • Trauma
  • Toxicity
  • Diseases
  • Foreign objects blockage
  • Infections

Can senior dog hearing loss be prevented?

Dog owners can do different things to make sure their dog’s ears remain in the best possible condition. However, some forms of senior dog hearing loss cannot be prevented. You can’t stop cancer from developing or nerves from deteriorating. You can only make sure your dog lives the healthiest possible life and hope for the best. Here are some of the things that might help with your dog’s ear health;

  • High-quality nutrition
  • Avoid playing loud music or TV around your dog
  • Keep your dog’s ears clean and regularly check them
  • Don’t skip vet appointments

senior great dane

Even if you stick to these things and make sure your dog’s ears are peachy, that still can’t guarantee your dog won’t suffer hearing loss when they reach old age.

What can vets do about a senior dog’s hearing loss?

There are different ways vets can help dogs partially or fully recover their hearing. However, that will greatly depend on the exact cause. For example, hearing loss caused by bacterial infections can be resolved with antibiotics. If a foreign body blocks your dog’s hearing, it should be fully restored once it is removed.

Unfortunately, there is some bad news when it comes to geriatric deafness (deafness caused by old age) - it is usually not treatable. Geriatric deafness means there is something severely deteriorated in the delicate mechanics of the inner ear. That may be permanent, and in many cases, vets cannot do anything about it.

How will hearing loss affect my dog?

One of the first questions worried dog owners have about their deaf or nearly deaf dog is, “How will hearing loss affect my dog?” Naturally, we want to know immediately if our dog is in pain or how we can make their lives easier. The bad part is that dogs can’t tell us how they’re feeling. However, we can make an educated guess regarding the effects deafness has on dogs. The most important thing to remember is - anxiety.

Hearing loss will most likely cause our dogs to feel very anxious. They were used to processing information through their sight, smell, touch, and sound. Once one of these sensations is taken away from them, the dog will most likely become anxious. The good news is that there are different things you can do to help your dog. Here is a list of things you can do to help your deaf dog cope with deafness - 7 tips for living with a deaf dog.

World Dog Finder team

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