How do hearing dogs work?

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how do hearing dogs work

Humans are known to be the most intelligent beings currently living on this planet. No other species has ever gotten close to showing signs of such remarkable intelligence as humans. We have been trying to contact any extra-terrestrial life form beyond our planet but failed to get any response.

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While there may be no other species close to humans, there are one which is very close to humans in terms of emotions and friendship; it is none other than dogs. 

Dogs have accompanied humans since they evolved from the pack of wolves and are now much more advanced, intelligent, and friendly. They are so smart that they currently serve humans as service dogs and perform tasks that humans cannot perform.

About this article

In this particular article, we will discuss a special kind of service dog called Hearing Dogs. We will also talk about how they are helpful to a human, how they work, and how they can be trained.

Hearing Dogs

hearing_dogs_on_duty_imageHearing dogs are an extraordinary kind of dog that is trained to help people that are deaf or having a hard time hearing. These dogs are the ears and alarms for people with hearing disabilities.

Hearing dogs are trained in such a way that they can react to important sounds like the sound of the smoke alarm, doorbell, any intruder entering into the house at night, children crying, etc.

How helpful can a Hearing dog be?

Hearing dogs can be beneficial to people who have problems hearing or people who are deaf. The hearing dog always stays by the patient’s side and alerts the patient about any important sound that goes on in the environment. 

For example, imagine a scenario where the patient is sleeping in his/her home, and suddenly fire breaks out. The patient suffering from hearing problems or deafness may not know about the fire, but the dog sleeping beside him can listen to the fire alarm and can wake up the patient. This process can save anyone’s life and act as a hearing aid.

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What kind of dogs are best suited to become a hearing dog?

taking_care_of_service_dog_imageFor example, imagine a scenario where the patient is sleeping in his/her home, and suddenly fire breaks out. The patient suffering from hearing problems or deafness may not know about the fire, but the dog sleeping beside him can listen to the fire alarm and can wake up the patient. This process can save anyone’s life and act as a hearing aid.
  • The dog should be calm and composed in crowded environments.
  • The dog should not be harmful to others.
  • The dog should be naturally alert to certain pitched sounds.
  • The dog should always be alert and ready to work.

Things to consider before training the dog:

There are certain things to consider before starting to train the dog to be a hearing dog.

  • The dog should be perfectly healthy and fit for the training.
  • The dog should not have any medical condition or allergy. If the dog suffered from an injury or disease earlier in life, he should be diagnosed again before training. 
  • The dog should be able to listen and obey basic commands like sit, stand, fetch, and stay.
  • The dog and the trainer should have a good relationship.
  • The dog should make a strong bond and good relationship with the patient also to make the training yield good results.

How do hearing dogs work, and how are they trained?

Hearing dogs are trained by making them react to certain sounds, like sounds of doorbells, fire alarm, smoke alarm, mobile phone, etc.

First, the dog has to pass some tests to get clearance for the training. The test contains the testing activities to check the hearing abilities of the dog, motivation of the dog to work, his personality, and how he reacts in-between the crowd.

After clearing the clearance test, the dog proves that he has excellent listening ability, and the character of the dog is obedient and friendly. Now the dog becomes a perfect candidate for the training of the hearing dog.

What happens during training?

  • During training, the dog is made to hear certain sounds that are important in real life.
  • The dog is taught to react to certain sounds and alert the patient when he hears those voices. 
  • When the dog recognizes the sound and reacts to a particular sound, he is given a reward to motivate him for the training.
  • In the end, the dog is trained on how to react to the sound of the patient’s name. 
  • After some practice, the dog learns how to alert the patient when someone calls his name.
  • Duration of Training:
  • The hearing dog training can take from 1 to 2 years. After enough practice, the dog should be able to distinguish individual voices like telephone, alarm, baby crying, and the sound of the patient’s name from the noises in the background.
  •  Hearing dogs are saviors for people with hearing disabilities. There is no other human that will stick with the patient all the time and help him hearing voices. The loyalty and help that a dog can provide are unmatched by any human being, no matter how close.

If you want to know more about hearing dogs, refer to these videos

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Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearing_dog

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearing_Dogs_for_Deaf_People

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