Can Dogs Go Deaf?

Much like we touched upon in our article about blindness in dogs, you won’t be surprised to learn that dogs can do deaf also.

We’ll explore the subject in greater detail but yes, dogs can do deaf.

You have been noticing some strange behaviour in your beloved pet dog: You come home and you don’t find him waiting for you at the foot of the door anymore. He is still a far way from the door, he is approaching it, but not there yet. You shrug it off for the time being.

Until one day you come home, and your dog is sound asleep in his bed, not even realizing you are back. This makes you sick with worry as you think what could be so wrong with my doggo that he didn’t hear ME come back home to HIM?!

Exactly. He didn’t hear you. He has likely been losing his sense of hearing slowly but steadily. It could be a genetic predisposition, or and infection, a blocked canal, or simple age doing some catching up.

Some of these causes like age and genetic predisposition are permanent, unfortunately. Deafness due to infection or blocked ear canal, on the other hand, is thankfully treatable and a temporary issue.

Head on over to your vet to find out what is causing hearing problems with your pooch.

In the meantime, keep reading on to find out some symptoms and potential treatments.

What Are The Causes Of Deafness In Dogs?

What Are The Causes Of Deafness In Dogs?

Deafness in dogs can either be due to the genes he/she is born with, or birth defects. And another type is that which is due to external factors such as trauma, infection, foreign objects, or age. The former is called congenital deafness, whereas the latter is termed acquired deafness.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hearing Loss In Dogs?

When your dog stops giving a response, or gives little response to:

Squeaky toys, other dogs barking, doorbells, loud noises clapping, being called by his/her name, you entering the room…

Or, when:

He barks a lot more than usual, or it is becoming increasingly difficult to him wake up, and he gets frightened when woken up…

How Can I Help My Dog Cope With His Loss Of Hearing?

It can be a trying time for your pooch to realize now that he does not know when you are back home, for instance. But there are so many ways to cope with this issue, so do not be disheartened. With a lot of patience and training, your dog will be good as new.

First things first, if you suspect anything wrong with your dog’s hearing, get him to your vet asap. They will be able to accurately diagnose the cause of the issue. And then you work from there.

With the lack of perfect hearing, your dog might be at risk from passing cars or bicycles while on his walk, for instance. It is important to keep him on a leash next to you. As he can still see, try to take him through different routes to make this interesting for him.

Dogs are able to learn hand signals fairly quickly. Teach them the signals for sitting, staying still, following, stopping, come here, etc. Train him just as you would for playing fetch – with treats for a job well done 😉

Make sure others know your dog is having trouble listening. Try a written tag on the collar that says, “I am deaf” or “I have trouble listening”. This will clearly indicate to other people to be mindful of your dog, as well.

Try not to rattle them unexpectedly, even if you mean well. A sudden touch for them could be alarming. Make as much noise/vibrations as you need when coming towards them. You could train them to be okay with sudden touching by offering them treats after unexpectedly petting them.

It would do well for you to grab their attention. You could stomp the ground to make some vibrations he would pick up on and look at you. There are vibration collars available that you can control via a remote. Do proceed with caution with these, as they can spook the dog if not introduced with the proper care.

Tie a bell or a jingle to your dog’s collar. It acts as GPS for both you and your dog.

For the best and most obedient dog, you must award him with some leash-free time. Once they have obtained the mastery of hand signals, and you know you can trust your dog to come back to you with your signal, that is.

They will appreciate the trust and enjoy themselves a little more. Be careful to do this in open spaces where you can watch them easily.

With a geriatric dog, you need to be even more careful. He could be losing his eyesight, too. Take the necessary steps to make him comfortable going through these stages in his life. Talk to your vet and be patient. Always be patient with them. They are not doing this on purpose.

Well, you should be very patient, after being correctly diagnosed by the vet, you will know exactly what to do from there. We have compiled a list of options for possible treatments the doctor might recommend based on what the diagnosis turns out to be.

Genetically predisposed illnesses that cause deafness, and old age, are sadly, not treatable. Surgery might be an option if the defect is not related to nerves or the inner ear. However, if your dog has developed deafness due to drugs, or heavy metal exposure or loud noises, the damage is most often irreversible.


If the vet determines the cause of hearing loss as an obstruction, like that of wax build up, overgrown ear hair, or any object that might have lodged itself in there. Rejoice. This is an easily salvageable situation.

Hearing Aids

Another idea is to use hearing aids and cochlear implants, the same as for humans. But they are not wallet friendly and not entirely worth the trouble because dogs may or may not be the most welcoming host for a hearing aid.


Surgery is a viable option to remove any tumour growing in the ear.

Ear Infection In Dogs

Dogs are also prone to bacterial or yeast infections in their ears. In such an instance, an ear flush or an ointment might be the only treatment your dog would need to hear as good as new. Depending on the severity of the infection, the vet might also prescribe antibiotics or daily ear cleaning.


Watch out for any symptoms that might develop due to loss of hearing. Take them to the vet at the slightest suspicion of anything wrong, ever.

Be very vigilant of where they go to avoid injury as much as possible. As they cannot hear cars or other dangers, it could be a harsh world out there for a hearing-impaired dog without supervision.

Communication will need to be changed from voice to physical cues and gestures. Do not startle them.
Microchipping or tags with contact information will help you and your dog in the event of getting lost, if ever.