Hearing Dogs

How an assistance dog can help someone with hearing loss

Woof! Everyone loves dogs. Whether it’s the smallest energetic puppy or the wisest old wolf, all dogs are perfect and deserving of love and hugs. Most perfect and deserving of all are the dogs that work for their living!

We all know about seeing-eye dogs and their role of acting as eyes for the visually-impaired, but there are all kinds of dogs with jobs. Therapy dogs, disability support dogs, and – the heroes of today’s story – hearing dogs!

Hearing dogs are intended for those with hearing loss. If you think you’re suffering from hearing loss, a good idea would be to book an appointment with a hearing specialist. To arrange a free consultation with a specialist near you, fill out our quick form!

What is a hearing dog?

It’s easy to understand how a visually-impaired individual could benefit from a guide dog. The dog uses its functioning eyes to lead its partner around, avoiding obstacles and stopping at roads. But upon the mention of a hearing dog, you might wonder what their duties entail.

Hearing dogs’ jobs fall under two main categories: home and public.

Home responsibilities

In a home setting, hearing dogs are alerted by and respond to household sounds, like the doorbell, smoke alarm, or a crying baby. They then go and notify the homeowner and lead them to the source of the sound.

Hearing dog

Since the dog will always be close by, this allows little to no delay between the sound occurring and the owner responding to it.

Public responsibilities

When out and about, hearing dogs are taught less about reacting to certain specific sounds (like sirens and honking horns) and more about generally responding to noise. The dog’s owner takes note of the dog’s responses to noise, and follows suit.

For example, if a person with hearing loss and their dog are sitting in a park, and the dog perks up upon hearing an explosion or a shuffling horde, the owner will notice the dog’s reaction and turn their head the same way.

How can a hearing dog help someone with hearing loss?

But what else can a hearing dog do for someone with hearing loss?

Sometimes, hearing loss can come with increased levels of stress or anxiety. In these cases, hearing dogs can double as therapy dogs, providing companionship, and reducing feelings of isolation common amongst those suffering from hearing loss.

Best hearing dog breeds

There are many kinds of dog bred for hunting, herding, and affection, while some are just supposed to be cute. But what kind of dogs are used as hearing dogs?

There are no strict guidelines on what breeds are qualified to act as hearing dogs. The main criterion for a hearing dog (past the dog’s ability to hear) is the dog’s intelligence. This means the smarter dog breeds, like golden retrievers, poodles, and cocker spaniels, are prime candidates for hearing dogs. 


Dogs are cute and perfect, and they can be useful to those who need them! Hearing dogs are heroes of the audiological world, and should be respected as much as any other medical procedure or necessity.If you’re concerned that you may be suffering from hearing loss, then you might want to arrange a hearing test. To get a free hearing test from a hearing specialist near you, fill out our quick and easy form!

Written by:

Duncan is an Australian-born American-raised creative writer with a passion for healthy ears. He continues to build upon his audiology qualifications with research and various courses.

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  • Earlene Outling
    I am hearingimpaired with my hearing aid on but without it I am deaf I would like to know how can I get a hearing dog ?
    • Lindsey Banks
      You can find more information about whether you qualify for a service dog here https://americandisabilityrights.org/adr/service-dogs