Hearing Dogs: Navigating People through the World’s Sounds
Hearing loss affects many factors of life, from social conversations to enjoying leisure activities to overall health. What many people seldom realize is how hearing loss affects safety. Those with hearing loss commonly experience anxiety and paranoia, often times from fear or concerns related to safety. At home, it is possible to miss a fire alarm, weather alerts, an intruder or even a family member in need. In public, navigating the streets is risky, even for those with perfect hearing. When at work, failing to hear someone around the corner can result in injuries. As humans, we rely on surrounding sounds to inform, educate and alert us, even when we are not listening.
There are many solutions, in addition to hearing aids, that can improve the wellbeing of someone with hearing loss… like a hearing dog!
What is a Hearing Dog?
Since the 1970’s, hearing dogs have been trained to alert those with hearing loss to specific sounds. They are trained by experts with extensive sound work and obedience training. Since barking is often not audible for their owners, these pups use physical touch. They can lead their owners to the source of the sound or they lay down when there is a sound of danger.
Hearing dogs are able to travel to the workplace, live at home and be out in public to assist with everyday sounds. Many alert to fire alarms, telephones, doorbells, kitchen timers, and even a baby crying. They walk beside their owners to “stop and go”, navigating traffic and oncoming dangers.
Benefits of Having a Hearing Dog
In addition to safety, a hearing dog improves their owner’s independence, giving them the assurance that they can navigate their home and being in public. They provide companionship and often create a bond stronger than most human relationships. Having a dog can help ease feelings of loneliness and depression. Hearing dogs attract social interactions, as people may stop to “meet” the working pup. They can alleviate strains on relationships and caregivers, as the dog can take on alerting responsibilities. They reduce stress and anxiety, provide comfort, and force you to exercise with daily walks. Overall, hearing dogs bring joy and provide a “best friend” to those that need someone to walk alongside them on their hearing loss journey through daily life.
Getting the Hearing Help You Need
Lakeland Hearing Care, part of Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center, is committed to providing hearing solutions that fit the needs, lifestyles and budgets of our patients. We are confident that we can help you get the hearing help you need!
Call 863-279-4812 to schedule an appointment and see how our Audiologists can help you!