Considering a Hearing Assistance Dog? Here is Some More Information

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Hearing Assistance Dogs

Service dogs do unbelievable work for their owners. You are probably familiar with dogs who assist owners who are visually impaired and those who comfort patients in the hospital. However, did you know some dogs can support the hearing impaired? These specially trained canines alert their owners to sounds that might otherwise go unnoticed. So keep reading for further information about these incredible hearing assistance dogs.

Who Benefits?

A hearing dog gives an owner the confidence and security that their hearing loss may have stolen. Untreated hearing loss dramatically affects an individual’s ability to communicate. Because of this limited communication ability, a person with hearing loss experiences loneliness and feelings of isolation. Hearing dogs give the deaf and hard of hearing their sense of control back. Not everyone qualifies for a hearing dog, but if you are profoundly deaf or hard of hearing it is probable that you may be eligible for a dog.

Trained To Alert

Hearing assistance dogs are specially trained canines who alert their owners to environmental sounds such as doorbells, alarm clocks, fire or burglar alarms, and telephones. The dogs warn their owners by making physical contact with them. This contact could be a simple nudge or tug. After the partner is alerted, the dog guides them to the source of the noise. There are organizations such as Dogs for Better Lives that train hearing dogs to accompany their owners into public spaces. The dogs prepare for four to six months before being matched up with prospective owners.

What Kinds Of Dogs?

Practically any breed of dog can be a hearing assistance dog. The dogs, who primarily come from animal shelters must be friendly, energetic, and people-oriented. If an individual already owns a dog, it is possible to train the dog if it is of the right age and temperament. Organizations prefer training small to medium sized dogs. Good candidates are approachable and food motivated. High energy is vital as the dogs must be ready to work at a moment’s notice.

Eligibility

The Americans with Disabilities Act permits service dogs to go with their owners into public and private places. If you are willing to obligate to the responsibility of owning a dog and have the patience needed to work with the animal, a dog may be right for you. To qualify for a hearing assistance dog, an applicant must meet the following guidelines:

  • Be deaf or hard of hearing
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be independently mobile
  • Show the ability to effectively and safely control, manage, and care for a service dog
  • Be available for training classes

The Next Step

If you are interested in owning a hearing assistance dog, check for organizations in your community. All programs have their own rules, application process, and fees. As many of these organizations are non-profit, a dog might only cost you a refundable deposit and a small application fee. A hearing assistance dog can dramatically improve the lives of those with hearing problems so check them out today!

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