Most people are subjected to a variety of sounds throughout the day – ranging from lawn mowers, to loud cars, trains, earth-moving equipment, planes, thunder, gunshots, sirens, music, and many other types of sounds. For people, simply getting some earplugs to silence the noise is somewhat of a no-brainer, when that exposure is constant. But think about the pets who are exposed to some of these sounds every single day, they can’t tell their dog parents that the sound is hurting their ears other than by whining, chewing on something, or destructive behavior. Many times the destructive behavior and fussing is because their ears are hurting due to the loud noise and they have no voice to tell the pet parents.
There are plenty of options for dog hearing protection, including conventional ear covers, natural remedies, and even some mechanical options which includes earplugs for dogs. It’s very helpful for dogs which travel on planes frequently, or live near hospitals, police station, or fire departments where sirens are constantly going in an out frequently, or if they are near a construction zone, or lawn equipment is in frequent use.
Remember if the sound is loud to a human, it’s probably painful to our canine friends. Noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented by a few simple precautions.
Hearing Protection for Dogs
There are a variety of hearing “muffs” for dogs that are capable of protecting the dogs hearing and preventing permanent hearing loss. Some of these models are:
Mutt Muffs DDR337 Hearing Protection for Dogs, X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large
The Mutt Muffs DDR337 Hearing Protection devices are a must for protecting the dog’s hearing. They come in black, blue, pink or red, and sizes extra-small, Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large. The features of this Mutt Muff includes the following:
- Over the head straps that are adjustable and ensure the muffs fit snugly to the dogs head
- Side ear muffs are sound-deadening foam-filled seals which ensure maximum comfort for the dog
- Lightweight at eight ounces
- Designed to properly fit the curves of the dog’s head
- Average decibel reduction of up to 20dB
- It’s a passive, noise reduction device, so that the dogs can still hear the sounds
- One year limited warranty
Customers state that it took their dogs some getting used to, but once they did, it was obvious that the pain from the intense noise was gone. Some customer found it more difficult to secure on very tiny dogs.
One more thing to note, is that dogs with long floppy ears require additional care to prevent hearing loss.
Sizes of Mutt Muff Hearing Protectors
Certainly dogs come in all sizes and shapes from the tiniest toy Chihuahua versions to the largest Great Dane. Because of these differences in sizes, the over the head Muff Mutts hearing protectors can’t be a “one size fits all” solution. These Mutt Muffs come in five sizes that are sure to provide a snug, comfortable fit for the dog. The following size chart provides a good overview of the sizes:
The best way to ensure a good fit for the dog is to measure the circumference of the head (that’s done at the largest part of the head), know the weight of the dog, and choose the right Mutt Muff according to the chart above. If the size is not correct, these Muffs will not seal against the head of the dog, and all the sound reduction is lost. The dog’s weight is a good indicator unless the body is not in a good proportion to the head.
In addition, if the dog requires a custom fit, contact Mutt Muff’s customer service and speak to a representative.
Hearing Ranges in Dogs
Just about everyone knows that dogs can hear sounds at much higher frequencies than people are able to hear. Humans normally hear around the 2000Hz range and dogs around 8000Hz; however, the high end tends to be around 20,000Hz for humans and around 48,000Hz for dogs. At each of these extreme ranges, for a human to hear the sound, it must be extremely loud, so imagine what it must be for the canines who have far more sensitive hearing.
Measures of Sound Volumes
Volumes of sounds are measures in decibels, and that is how a sound is determined to be damaging to hearing, and thus causing hearing loss, is by the loudness of the sound. The comparison chart below identifies a variety of sounds and their decibel (dB) level – keep in mind that hearing loss can occur with any sounds over 90 (for more sensitive individuals) to 100dB.
In numerous studies, it’s been found that the death of hearing, meaning permanent hearing loss, occurs with exposure to sounds in the 180dB range or prolonged exposure to sounds higher than 100dB. Therefore, think about the sounds that working dogs are exposed to in a variety of situations.
Another area to understand is acoustic reflex. When the tiny hair cells in the ear transmit the sound to the brain, there is an additional reaction in the middle ear by a group of tiny muscles that act to reduce the volume of the sound when it is being transferred to the brain. The acoustic reflex occurs generally within 50 milliseconds from the beginning of the loud noise. Consider impulse noise in regards to acoustic reflex.
There is a difference between impulse noise – such as the sound produced by a gunshot that has a timeframe of approximately 50 microseconds and duration of less than one millisecond – and sustained noise, such as that of a lawn mower. The impulse noise is a sound which increases and reaches its peak faster than the acoustic reflex in the middle ear can react to the transmission of sound. When impulse noises occur frequently the middle ear muscles can be damaged as well as the tiny hair cells in the ear. Remember impulse noise above 130dB often ends up in immediate hearing loss, that can be permanent, and dogs experience these hearing problems just the same as humans do.
Dogs Hearing Protection Benefits
Dogs need protection for their hearing for the same reasons people do. Once that particular sense is gone, it’s almost impossible to get back – permanent hearing loss doesn’t regenerate! It’s critical for dogs to retain good hearing, especially working dogs in the police or military forces who are exposed to gunshots on a frequent basis, or even dogs that are near construction zones and subjected to consistently loud noises. And it’s particularly important for dogs who travel frequently in airplanes, and are in the cargo hold of the plane, and subjected to the loud noises of the engines for sustained periods of time.
There are both pathological risks and behavioral risks for dogs that are frequently exposed to long periods of sustained nose. Particularly working dogs in the military and police environments, rescue dogs, and other working class dogs depend on their hearing to do their job. When they are exposed to sustained loud noises the damage to their hearing often results in some deep behavioral problems that is difficult to diagnose. In addition, ear infections may be more prevalent in hunting dogs because of other outside influences along with the noise.
Be aware that most veterinarians do not recommend inner ear plugs for dogs because it’s much too easy to insert them improperly and cause even more damage to the dog’s ears. In addition, the rubber and metals that are used in the inner earplugs for dogs completely block out the noise and can have a long term effect on the nature of the dog.
Everyone wants their best four-legged pal to be healthy, happy, and ready to go on the next excursion and helping to ensure that their hearing is protected from loud noises is one way to prevent hearing lost in our best friends. Whether it’s going to the car races, riding in the cargo hold of a noisy airplane, or going hunting, these four-legged companions deserve to be kept safe and protected from all harm.
Protecting the dogs from hearing loss should be a goal of all pet owners whose pets are exposed to a large frequency of loud noises in greater ranges. Make sure to remember, if the noise seems to be somewhat loud to the human, it’s a good bet that it’s over the scale loud to the dogs, whose hearing is much more sensitive than that of their human companions.
Ensuring their hearing is protected is one of the least expensive and best ways to keep their hearing in good order for their lifetime.