Can you imagine being able to rotate your ears so that you can funnel sounds better? What if we had a lightly covered hairy path running up to our ears to help sound flow better into our ear canals? We would have some amazing hearing capabilities!
Our pets rely heavily on their hearing just as we do, so it’s important that we notice signs of hearing loss. Keep in mind that hearing and vision in senior and geriatric pets often go away in a relatively short time of each other. When pets begin to lose their hearing, they may exhibit signs that are unusual to us to see. They may include:
· Ignoring our requests (commands)
· Ignoring the door
· Ignoring us upon arriving home or entering a room
· Delayed arrival into the kitchen for feeding time if their usual cue was the sound of the kibble pouring or can opening, etc.
· Agitation caused by sudden surprise
We have to learn to make adjustments for our pets and the pets we care for when they age. If a pet has hearing loss, it can help to stomp the floor with your foot so they can feel a vibration. You can also use an item such as a cat toy wand (even for dogs!) that you carry with you so they might see that coming around a corner before they see you. Hand signals continue to be of great help as long as your pet can still see well. Hand signals should be taught through the life of your pet for numerous reasons, but it comes to be especially helpful in their senior years. This works well with cats, too.
The senior pet will rely more on the remaining senses, dulled as they may be, to compensate for the loss of hearing. We will need to prepare for the changes in our pets, just as we would an aging parent.
By Sarah Zumhofe