We all love our furry friends, but while many of us adopt our dogs for snuggling, running and playing fetch with, some dogs provide essential assistance for their owners: service dogs. The most well-known type of service dog is a seeing-eye dog, but service dogs can actually be trained to help people with a variety of health conditions including physical, mental and emotional problems.
What Are Hearing Dogs?
Hearing dogs are service dogs that are trained for – you guessed it – assisting people with hearing loss. They serve as their companion’s ears for safety purposes in day-to-day life. By federal law, service dogs may go anywhere their owner is allowed to go, including restaurants, schools, stores and government buildings, as well as no-pet housing and airplane cabins. Hearing dogs are so much more than pets to their owners – they are partners.
Hearing dogs are specifically trained to alert their owner to sounds like doorbells, kitchen timers, phones, alarm clocks, smoke alarms and children’s cries. The most common alert a hearing dog gives is physical contact through nudging or pawing, though some are trained to lead their owners to the sound source.
These animals are also trained to tune out ambient, non-essential noises, which is important in the public sphere. For example, while walking down the street, hearing dogs do not respond to background sounds, like highway traffic, but are attuned to sounds that may present a hazard, like an oncoming car. Having a hearing dog helps owners feel safer and more confident in their everyday lives.
Finding a Hearing Dog
There are many agencies online that match service dogs with owners, including Assistance Dogs International, Paws with a Cause and World Class Service Dogs.
Keep in mind that while a service dog can provide great benefit to a person suffering from severe hearing loss, their cost can be significant: as much as $20,000. And those with only mild to moderate hearing losses would likely benefit greatly from a pair of properly fit hearing devices at a fraction of the cost of a service dog.
Are you experiencing symptoms related to hearing loss? You may benefit from a hearing test. Contact Precision Hearing at 352-765-8008 to schedule a free consultation with the area’s only Board Certified Audiologist. Or, learn more about your hearing health by visiting www.precisionhearingfl.com.