What you need to know about hearing safety for your dog


It’s happened to all of us. We’ve been busy minding our own business at home, when all of a sudden, our dog starts inexplicably barking and causing a ruckus. We look out the window to see what he’s barking at, only to see nothing. Moments later a neighbor and his dog pass on the street. How did this happen? Do our dogs have a sixth sense, or is there something else at play?

Turns out, dogs’ sense of hearing is as much more sensitive than ours—by up to four times more sensitive! No wonder Fido heard the neighbor when he was a block away. This superpower comes with some special considerations for your pup.

As humans, we all know the hazards of loud noises. We wouldn’t stand next to a jack hammer or go to a loud concert without ear plugs (then again, maybe some of us would…I digress). Hearing loss due to loud noise is well documented. It is so well documented in fact, that the CDC has set forth federal guidelines to guard against it. If there are such guidelines in place for humans, it only makes sense that we take steps to prevent hearing loss in our pups too.

Hearing loss due to loud noises can be caused by any variety of noise. The noise can go on for a long time, like a concert, or be relatively short, like gunfire. Regardless, there are three things that increase the risk of hearing loss:

  • How loud the noise is
  • How close you are to it
  • How long you listen to it

Louder sounds, close proximity to the noise, and hearing the noise for a longer period of time all increase the risk for hearing loss in both you and your pup.

How loud a sound is, is measured in decibels. Humans can hear down to about 0 decibels (dB). Dogs however, are much more sensitive. They can discern sounds down to -15 decibels.  Because of this, it makes sense to take the same precautions with your dog’s hearing as you would with your own! Most dogs naturally shy away from loud noises. How many dogs do you know that like thunderstorms, the vacuum, or fireworks?

For humans, any sound over 85 decibels is considered to have the potential to cause permanent hearing loss. The closer you are to the sound and the longer you listen to it, the more likely it is to cause damage. It’s important to take precautions, as many daily sounds may be louder than you think!

  • Normal Conversation 60 dB
  • Alarm Clock 70 dB
  • City Traffic 85 dB
  • Lawn Mower 95 dB
  • Listening with Headphones 100 dB
  • Nearby Thunder 120 dB
  • Gunshot 140 dB

Our dogs aren’t typically using power tools, or spending time at a firing range, but it’s important to protect them nonetheless. Try taking walks on quieter streets and making sure Fido is indoors when you mow the lawn (don’t forget earplugs for yourself either!). Additionally, be sure to give him a safe, quiet space that he can go to, to get away from loud noises like fireworks and the clap of thunder. Not only will this help quell any possible anxiety, it will also protect his hearing.

And if your pup must be around loud noises as part of his daily life, we encourage you to look into ear protection. Mutt Muffs make a great over the head type protection for dogs.

At SpotOn, we care about your dog and want to make sure he is healthy and happy for as long as possible. That includes his hearing. That’s why the audible tones on the SpotOn collar are set to about 65 decibels. This may be a little difficult for humans to hear while training, but remember, your dog has to hear the tones forever, you only have to hear them for a few weeks. Your pup’s head is a lot closer to the collar and the sound and his hearing is more sensitive than yours. The collar tones sound a lot louder to him! By keeping the collar tones at safe levels, we hope your pup can enjoy adventures with you for years to come.

 By Haeleigh Hyatt, Director of Training


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