What Does a Hearing Dog Do?
Dogs have the ability to help us in so many ways and over the last few generations there have been increasing awareness about training specific dogs to provide support and help to people with disabilities.
One of these disabilities is deafness. Whether partial or completely deaf the condition of being unable to hear is isolating. There is also a lack of understanding and deaf people can be seen as ignorant or rude in shops when really they simply cannot hear when they are being spoken to.
This is where a hearing dog comes in. One of the main benefits of a specially trained hearing dog is that they are entitled to go into shops and public places wearing a coat which tells people of their role. So immediately on sight social barriers are broken down and the dog is a visual sign that its handler may not be able to hear well or even at all.
Another important aspect of a hearing dog is its ability to recognize sounds and alert its owner to them. For instance if a deaf person is alone in their home and the doorbell rings then they are likely to miss the visitor, but a hearing dog will gently touch the deaf person and lead them to the door.
Dogs can be trained to alert their owner to many individual sounds including a baby monitor, cooker timer, alarm clock and probably the most important danger sounds such as smoke and fire alarms. This is really important because not being able to hear a smoke or fire alarm could actually put a person’s life at risk.
The third important role of a hearing dog is companionship. Dogs have been proven time and again to alleviate stress and help people to deal with mental illness and depression. Some doctors even prescribe the act of getting a dog as a treatment for depression and there is little doubt that a hearing dog can literally change the life of a deaf person.