Last time, we covered the basics of hearing loss in older dogs and the importance of hearing for our four-legged friends.

With that understanding in place, it’s time to move on to explore some of the early signs and symptoms with respect to a lack of hearing and deafness in dogs.

If you missed our first article, you can read more on the basics regarding dogs and hearing loss.

Response Deficit – What Does It Mean?

Perhaps the most obvious symptom of hearing loss in older dogs is that of response deficit.

This is a fancy way of saying that your dog will ignore commands or calls because he or she doesn’t hear them. Example:

  • If you are calling your dog’s name or calling out commands and your dog doesn’t respond or has a delayed response, this could be a sign that your dog is suffering some form of hearing loss.
  • Dogs with response deficits may also have trouble hearing squeaky toys or even sounds from other dogs and animals.

Startles Easily

Another sign that your dog may be losing his or her hearing is if he or she startles easily. Here’s some common reasons and reactions related to why your dog may appear suddenly startled:

  • He or she doesn’t see you coming and is surprised by your presence. This happens because your dog was unable to hear your footsteps or other audible stimuli that he or she normally would’ve heard upon approach.
  • Dogs with little or no ability to perceive sound, may also startle easily and create unforeseen aggression in dogs because they’re surprised by your presence or the sudden presence of other pets.

Other Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss in Older Dogs

There are a few other noted signs and symptoms of hearing loss in older dogs, some of which don’t seem to make much sense at the outset but may point to a larger problem with your best friend’s hearing. Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive barking
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Confusion/agitation/disorientation
  • Pawing or scratching at ears
  • Head shaking
  • Turning wrong way when called
  • Smelly discharge from ears (hearing loss doesn’t cause smelly, dirty ears; this is a symptom of another problem such as chronic ear infections that were never really resolved and may have played a role in your dog’s hearing problem)

Dogs will typically show more signs of deafness and hearing loss than cats or other types of domesticated animals, likely because hearing is such an important part of their lives.

Keep an eye out for the aforementioned symptoms and for any strange behavior coming from your dog, as it could be an early sign that something is going wrong with his or her ears.

From this standpoint, you can start to get treatment or learn to deal with a dog with hearing loss. In the next entry, we’ll get into how hearing loss in older dogs is treated and how life with an older dog with hearing loss can still be a joyous and enlightening experience for both you and your best friend.

Life with hearing loss does not mean it’s the end of the road, after all, and your dog deserves the best possible care going forward with this difficult condition.

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