Are you hearing impaired and looking for an assistant to help you detect everyday sounds? Do you need a friend to follow you around all day? Seeing eye dogs have garnered all the attention for many decades, but now a new type of assistance dog is getting some attention: the hearing dog. Hearing dogs have the uncanny ability to help those in the hearing-impaired community be aware of sounds to keep them safe and regain their freedom in their daily lives. Labradors and Golden Retrievers in particular are thought to make the best hearing dogs due to their friendly dispositions. They must undergo the proper training to become a hearing dog, though.
ABCs of Training
The training regimen, a rigorous process for the dogs, can stretch between four and six months. They learn to hone their disposition to be agreeable with those who have hearing impairments, and are taught how to detect sounds and let their owners know. This is crucial for the owner’s safety and for the functioning of his or her daily life. From smoke alarms to telephones, hearing dogs pick up on those sounds and alert their owners, with additional sounds and situations that can be taught over time that pertain to specific needs.
The Ways in Which Hearing Dogs Help Individuals with Hearing Loss
Personalized care takes place for three weeks once dog and owner are initially paired up together. This is to make sure both parties feel comfortable with each other and there is a positive match in personalities. You will see that your dog can provide you with several helpful services that pertain to alerting you to household and neighborhood sounds, such as ringing telephones, blaring smoke alarms and the ping of the oven timer.
Although the hearing dogs are not trained in a specific way to alert you to a fire engine coming down the block, you would know something is amiss by your dog’s use of body language. Unique situations and sounds can be honed over time as you get to know each other better. As such, your dog will be able to alert you of even more sounds that are unique to your environment.
How do you go About Getting Such a Dog?
A procedure is in place that you must go through first. First of all, you can’t be under 18, and you must have a friend or family available to help with in-home training. Once you meet those requirements, you have to fill out an application. As part of this procedure, your living space will undergo an evaluation to ensure it’s a good fit for yourself and a hearing dog. A big part of the program is that you attend canine training with your dog, plus follow ups on annual training and tracking sessions. If you pass all that, you are well on your way to being the new owner of a hearing dog as well as a new companion for day to day living.