Deafness or in other words hearing loss can simply be defined as the partial, temporary or absolute loss of the inability to hear either words or sounds in both or one ear. Deafness is as a result of different conditions such as ear infection, birth defects, heredity, trauma, ear canal blockage or in later stage of life, old age.
Not treatable and permanent deafness are deafness caused by trauma, Geriatric and congenital issues. Deafness due to ear canal blockage or ear infection are temporary and can be treated. Some specific breed of dogs have already been predisposed to congenital deafness.
Deafness in dogs can vary, either partial, temporary or total hearing loss which can either be because of built up ear wax in the ear canal or permanent loss of hearing due to a foreign object or as a result of ignored ear infection, injury in the ear or old age.
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Dog Hearing Loss After Ear Drops
If you feel your dog is going deaf, you should take him or her to the vet, and the veterinarian will check for a ruptured ear drum, presence of foreign objects in the ear, ear infection, injury, accumulation of ear wax which can cause deafness.
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Symptoms of loss of hearing in dogs
Humans can simply tell you I don’t hear much again, but a dog cannot, so you have to make do with a few symptoms you can notice, symptoms such as; No response to sound, No response to loud noises, no response to squeaky toys, no response to his own name, No response to whistle, No longer hears you go near him, no response to sound of other animals like other dogs barking, sudden disobedience to commands, suddenly barks for no reason.
Types of dog hearing loss
There are mainly two types of deafness in animals, Acquired deafness and congenital deafness and they are in two branches, conducive deafness and sensorineural deafness :
Congenital deafness: This is a situation in which the animal was born deaf as a result of a genetic problem or hereditary trait. It can also be due to a birth defects relating to the development of the nervous system and the hearing organ or the formation of the ear.
Acquired deafness: In this case, the animal was able to hear previous, it was born with a perfect hearing but their was an occurrence of a traumatic incidence, infection, ear canal blockage or ear injury which has cause the animal to go deaf.
Conductive type of deafness: In this type of deafness, sounds do not reach the inner ear, or sounds from the outside of the ear does not reach the inside of the ear.
Sensorineural type of deafness: In this type of deafness, the nerve receptors are not able to transmit sound signals from the inner ear to the brain receptors. Or the part of the brain responsible for accepting audio data is not able to interpret the data.
Causes of loss of hearing in dogs
- congenital deafness is as a result of a birth defect, genetics, abnormal development of the nervous system and inheritance.
- Some breeds of some dogs with coat colors tend to have a high percentage of hereditary deafness. Deafness has been connected to white ear, heads and merle coat.
- injury to the ear( head injury affecting the brain, trauma to the ear drum)
- Insertion of foreign objects in the ear( broom sticks, cotton buds, match stick or other objects)
- Constant exposure to loud sounds( Music Speakers, gun shots, loud engines)
- Old age( Natural decrease in hearing ability)
- Inflammation (Swelling of the ear drum)
- Tumors ( lumps in the Eustachian tube)
- Drug Abuse (Incorrect use of certain drugs can cause deafness, drugs like ethanol chlorhexidine, cisplatin, aminoglycosides, cisplatin, erythromycin, furosemide, furosemide, chloramphenicol and so on.)
- Exposure to heavy metal ( such as arsenic, mercury and led can cause deafness)
How to know your dog is loosing his hearing
If you happen to start noticing that your dog may be going deaf or be deaf already, you can test through a lot of ways to be sure. There are thousands of dogs of different breeds and species that are deaf, some are born deaf, some are partially deaf, while others suddenly loose their hearing ability due to trauma. Signs your dog is going deaf:
- Restlessness: If your dog has started loosing his hearing, he will become restless all of a sudden, whenever he is somewhere and not looking, and you approach him, when he notices you, he will jump and become restless, or even angry.
- Disobediences to commands: when your dog starts loosing his hearing, he will begin to ignore your every command, not because he wants to, but because he can’t hear what you are saying, get can’t hear you telling him to stop running around, or stop digging the sand, he will even stop responding to his name.
- Increase In sleeping hours: Dogs are known to be very sharp animals, some are even light sleepers and they wake to any little noise, but when you dog suddenly starts sleeping more peacefully and for longer house without waking up or moving much, then he may be going deaf.
- Increase In range barking: Just as Humans have their own of tone and sound of voice, so does dogs. If your dog is going deaf, one of the things you will notice is that the way he barks suddenly changes, he begins to bark louder and for longer, he may think you cannot hear him, and he won’t know how loud he is.
- Change in behaviors: If your dog is going deaf, he will begin to act odd and seem disoriented, he may not want to play, his temper will be going off at little things, he may start ignoring you and performing various odd acts which is not like him, he may want to be alone all the time, this can be as a result of loss of hearing.
When you notice this, you should take your dog to the vet right away for some treatment if treatable although some of the causes of the deafness are untreatable, others are treatable with antibiotics or injections and if your dog’s deafness cannot be treated, do not worry, nothing much has really changed.
You can still learn to care for your dog, a lot of dog owners whose dogs went deaf learnt how to care for their dogs, there are other ways to communicate with your dog asides oral command.
How to treat loss of hearing in dogs
In the case of most permanent deafness such as geriatric deafness or congenital deafness they cannot be treated. In few situations, veterinarian doctors may attempt to make corrections in the hearing with surgery, provided the fault is within the outer ear, middle or inner ear, but it is not always successful although there is an exception ¼ of the times.
However, acquired deafness such as Exposure to heavy metals, drug abuse or injury in the ear mostly cause permanent deafness without hope of cure or treatment.
- Use of hearing aids: Hearing aids for deaf dogs are now available in clinics, but they are still very expensive to purchase. The downside to hearing aids for dogs is that although these hearing aids works just the same as the one for humans, some dogs do not like putting it on, while others cannot just tolerate it.
- Removal of foreign object: If the deafness in your dog was caused by objects or bodies stuck in the ear, the veterinarian will take some tests and examination towards the removal of such foreign object either by surgical removal of the object, waxing of the ear, bursting of any boil in the ear. Afterwards another test will be carried out to make sure there are no injuries or further cause for alarm.
- Medications For infections: If your dog has an ear infection which can be treated, your veterinarian will prescribe various antibiotics, anti inflammatory drugs and eardrops to use everything for up to 3 weeks or more, the vet can also give you some pain reliever, if your dog gets agitated or uncomfortable, the pain reliever will help your dog relax and feel less pain. If washing of your dogs ear is not very safe, the vet can insert a wax base antibiotics into your dogs ear for effective curing of the infection.
- Surgical removal of Tumors: if your dog has growing tumors in his ears which can cause deafness, it will be removed surgically to free up space in the ear carnal if it is safe for your dog.
Recovery from loss of hearing in dogs
In cases where your dog has undergone surgical procedures, there will be weekly appointments to monitor the healing process and effective recovery. If your dog had an ear infection, the problem would have been cured within 3 weeks of effective treatment, speed of recovery also depends on the seriousness of the infection.
All Deaf pets need to be taken special care of no matter the type of deafness, they should be monitored closely so as to avoid harm or injuries. Avoid letting your deaf pet out of the house with a leash or a high fence because they will not be able to hear you calling them or hear moving vehicles approaching and they might get run over.