Dogs have an exceptional sense of hearing they can hear sounds that are inaudible to human ears but with this increased ability to listen, dogs are more prone to damage because of loud noises. Noise sensitivity and noise phobia are severe problems in dogs, especially those who live in crowded cities.
Noise sensitivity was a severe issue faced by military working dogs. The dogs play an essential role in the field but the loud sounds of gunshots and explosions can damage their ears.
Even something simple like a helicopter ride could be quite detrimental for the hearing of these brave dogs. However, recently the US military started using hearing protection to keep their dogs safe.
Hearing protection can have a lot of benefits for dogs regardless of whether they are military service dogs or civilian dogs.
However, very few people know that their dogs could need hearing protection, therefore to increase awareness and to help you keep your pets safe, today we are going to tell you about hearing protection for dogs.
Why Would Dogs Need Hearing Protection?
Well, as we have mentioned before, dogs have a heightened sense of hearing; moreover, a higher range of frequencies that are inaudible for humans but audible for dogs.
Dogs have more sensitive ears and loud noises can cause temporary or even permanent hearing loss. Therefore, protecting your dog from loud sounds is essential.
Some dogs that are born and bred in loud environments get used to the noise and aren’t bothered by it that much but if you adopt a dog who lived in a quiet area, like the countryside, you will need to get hearing protection for them.
Moreover, hearing protection is essential for military and police service dogs. These dogs have to work in extremely loud environments and their jobs revolve around their heightened sense of smell and hearing.
Therefore, hearing protection is necessary for them otherwise even a single gunshot in the proximity of the dog can result in significant hearing damage which can accumulate and also lead to permanent hearing loss.
In short, dogs can require hearing protection for the prevention of and relief from noise sensitivity and noise phobia.
What Is the Difference Between Noise Sensitivity and Noise Phobia in Dogs?
Noise phobia and noise sensitivity are two distinct yet very similar phenomenons that are often misinterpreted and confused for each other. Both these problems are complicated to distinguish but identifying them is essential for the treatment of the dog.
If a dog is affected by noise sensitivity, it is bothered by all loud sounds like the sound of the car alarm or the music of noisy traffic. Noise sensitivity is a physical problem that mostly happens because of damage to the ear canal or the internal mechanism of the dog’s ear.
Noise sensitivity can also be caused due to head trauma or some kind of ear infection. Sometimes noise sensitivity can be temporary and this can happen when the dog gets exposed to a deafening sound like fireworks or gunshots; moreover, this temporary damage can accumulate over time and cause permanent noise sensitivity.
On the other hand, noise phobia is actually fear of individual sounds and this is more of a mental problem than a physical one. Some dogs suffer from a noise phobia even if they have no apparent damage in their neuro-audiological system.
For instance, a dog may start fearing a particular sound like the sound of the doorbell or the sound of a certainly pitched whistle. This kind of phobia is not limited to loud noises either; in fact, dogs can start to fear normal sounds as well if they are associated with a traumatic event.
Noise phobias can develop in dogs due to abusive training; however, most of the time, noise phobias are the direct result of temporary noise sensitivity. When dogs have temporary noise sensitivity, all loud sounds hurt them and make them uncomfortable and if they hear certain loud sounds at this time, dogs usually start to fear them, hence resulting in noise phobia.
As far as the treatment of noise sensitivity is concerned, it can be treated in many ways depending on the cause. For instance, in case of a severe ear canal infection, antibiotics may be used, whereas the issue may be resolved after the damage is healed.
On the other hand, noise phobia is very hard to treat, unlike humans, techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy can’t be used on dogs. Some experts do suggest the light exposure therapy can be useful in the treatment for noise phobia, bit more often than not, the condition is untreatable.
The only solution is to get some hearing protection for your dog so that you can protect it for the sounds that it is afraid of. Usage of dog earplugs is necessary as they can provide protection.
Hearing protection can also be used to protect your dogs from temporary and permanent noise sensitivity. Therefore, if you are taking your dog on a hunting trip or some other occasion where loud noises are expected, use hearing protection.
Why Are Noise Sensitivity and Noise Phobia Challenging to Distinguish?
Noise sensitivity and noise phobia are difficult enough to distinguish in humans, even though we can understand each other. Still, in dogs, they are challenging and sometimes almost impossible to detect.
For instance, most of the time, noise phobia is also caused by deafening sounds and it is complicated to tell if the dog is bothered because of noise sensitivity or noise phobia. Hence, the feasible solution to either of these issues is using hearing protection for dogs.
Lastly, dogs are very loyal and faithful pets, and working dogs in the police and military are an essential part of our safety. They can work as guards, they can help find narcotics and contraband, they can help defuse bombs and do a lot more.
However, during all of this chaos, the dogs are exposed to deafening sounds that can lead to noise sensitivity or noise phobia. Therefore, hearing protection is essential for your dogs, as well.
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