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Posted on 10-10-2018

A recent comment of the Family Pet Clinic Facebook page caught my attention. A woman posted her concern for their dog’s hearing. Her husband was significantly hard of hearing and wears hearing aids most of the time. He likes to remove the hearing aids when he is at home, preferring to turn the television volume very high instead. His wife is concerned that this will cause hearing loss to the dog, as she herself finds the volume too loud to bear. She requested that I consider this a topic for my newspaper article (her husband loves The Animal House and reads it all the time). So, I gladly honor her request.

          The anatomy and physiology of hearing in animals is very similar to that of humans. We can assume that loud noise likely has the same effect on a dog as it would a human.    Hearing depends on a series of events that change sound waves in the air into electrical signals. Our auditory nerve then carries these signals to the brain through a complex series of steps. Sound waves travel through the outer ear canal and vibrate the ear drum. This sends the waves to the bones of the middle ear, which further move the waves into the cochlea of the inner ear.  Inside the cochlea are tiny hair-like sensory fibers called “stereocilia”, and the transfer the sound to the brain. Most noise induced hearing loss results from damage to the stereocilia.

          How loud does noise have to be to cause damage to stereocilia resulting in hearing loss? Sound is measured in units called decibels. A refrigerator hums at about 45 decibels. Normal conversation occurs at about 60 decibels. A lawn mower is at a level of about 90 decibels, and a loud rock concert 120 decibels. Hearing loss can occur because of a single loud noise, such as an exposure, or as a result of repeated exposure to loud sounds over time, such as a machine factory. Sound below 75 decibels rarely cause hearing loss: however, repeated exposure sounds over 85 can damage hearing.

          So, to answer your question, Facebook friend, the extra loud television noise will likely result in hearing damage to those in the room (assuming it is at a level above 85 decibels). I fear the dog, and yourself are at risk. Perhaps you could wear earplugs, but I think the dog may need to be some ways away in another room.

Until next time…Thanks for Caring!!



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