If you’re looking for a helpful companion as well as an assistant of sorts to alert you of everyday sounds, you may want to get a hearing dog. You’re no doubt aware of seeing eye dogs who assist the blind; well, hearing dogs are similar but they help the deaf. With an increasing focus in the last decade on making hearing dogs capable of helping those in the hearing-impaired community, the result has been several different breeds of dogs such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers undergoing training to do just that. Let’s explore the training and benefits that are inherent in these hearing dogs.
Training Regimen for Hearing Dogs
Specifically trained to perform tasks that alert those with a hearing impairment, these dogs go through a program that lasts anywhere from four to six months. This is to make certain they have the right personality and disposition for the job. Responding to several different sounds is all a part of the training. They can recognize door knocking, smoke alarms, and even the telephone, then alert their owners. Over time, they can be trained with additional sounds to fit their owners’ specific lives.
How They Help Individuals with Hearing Loss
After being placed with their partner, these dogs go through a few weeks of personalized care to be certain the fit is perfect between dog and owner. Once fully trained, the hearing dogs can provide a wide variety of services to their deaf or hearing-impaired partner, alerting them to the sounds around the house, as well as communicating in other types of situations.
For example, when walking through town and a fire engine approaches, the dog is not specifically trained to alert you to that sound per se, but yet their body language will prompt you to understand something is off. Once a few months and years have gone by, you’ll be able to pick up on additional sounds and situations according to how your partner reacts to the sounds. Time will bring about a closeness between the two of you that will ensure your dog can detect sounds according to your specific needs.
Are There Requirements to Obtain a Dog?
Yes, there are. In order to obtain a hearing dog, you must be 18 years of age of older. There is an application to fill out as well. During this stage, your home will be evaluated for the proper fit for a hearing dog. You’ll have to have a friend or family member in your corner that can be there to help with the mandatory in-home training at first. If it’s determined you have adequate living space that is conducive to the hearing dog and partner relationship, you’ll have to complete the last part of the process. This involves canine training and follow-up for annual training and tracking. Once you’ve met all the above requirements, you will be rewarded with a hearing dog that will provide friendship and assistance with everyday activities.