As pets age, they often experience age-related hearing loss (ARHL), as seen with a 17-year-old dog, Stewie. ARHL initially affects middle- to high-frequency sounds but eventually impairs the entire sound range. To ease this transition, several steps can help:

  • Veterinary Exam: Ensure the hearing loss is due to ARHL and not treatable conditions like ear infections.
  • Hand Signals: Use hand gestures to communicate, as dogs naturally understand body language.
  • Avoid Startling: Approach within the dog’s field of vision and use gentle, consistent touches to wake them.
  • Safety Precautions: Use a fenced yard and leash to prevent accidents. Inform service providers about the dog’s hearing impairment and consider an “I am deaf” tag for the collar. Devices like Apple AirTags can help locate a lost dog.

Despite hearing loss, dogs like Stewie and the author’s previous dog, Bailee, can continue to enjoy a full and active life.

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