We all love to turn the stereo system up to 10 from time to time, but have you ever thought about what kind of an impact this has on your dog's ears? It is no secret that dogs have exceptional hearing, so it only makes sense that super-loud music could be more than just an annoyance to them.
Many pet owners don't think about this fact, but sensory input - and overload, for that matter - can dramatically affect our pets' day-to-day experience. As a responsible pet owner, it is important for you to take your dog's hearing into consideration and maybe refrain from playing Justin Timberlake's new song as loud as your system will go.
Signs a Dog Can Hear Loud Music
The world is a loud and noisy place these days, and this isn't only having an effect on us humans. Most of us are able to block out all the extra noise around us, but this isn't so easy for your furry friend. If you live in a big city, it is important to take into consideration all the extra noises that are going on, such as the noise from cars, construction, and just the hustle and bustle of city life.
Sure, music is an excellent mood enhancer, but sound is also important to canine communication and it can have an effect on your dog's behavior. We've all been there - you are relaxing in the backyard when seemingly out of nowhere your dog starts howling, which is then followed by a chorus of howls from neighborhood dogs. This is one of the ways your dog communicates with others and is a direct example of how good their hearing is.
We will spare you an in-depth decibel conversation here, but the main takeaway should be that your dog's ears are sensitive and should not be abused. If you hear your dog howling or if you notice they seem to be cowering or leave the room when you watch a loud movie, that's a good indication your pup is feeling the effects of the noise.
History of Dogs Hearing Loud Music
For some reason, there doesn't appear to be a lot of information out there regarding how loud music impacts our four-legged friends. Sure, you can find endless articles and reports on how great a dog's hearing is and how they've used their ears for years to survive, but it is much more difficult to find anything about the effect of loud music on a dog's hearing. Common sense will tell us that long exposure to loud noises can result in damage to your dog's ears, just as can occur in humans.
So, while we may not be able to find the first report of loud music impacting a dog's hearing, the bottom line is that dogs have sensitive ears just like we do and extra care and precaution should be taken. If you are wondering if the stereo is too loud for their sensitive, magnificent ears, there's a good chance the answer is yes.
Be sensitive to your dog's hearing and take into consideration the fact their hearing is one of their most important senses. This is especially important with senior dogs, as their ears become increasingly sensitive as they get older. With this, try not to throw too many sounds at your pup all at once. If you are listening to music, don't have the TV on simultaneously in the background. And a general rule of thumb? The lower the volume, the better.
Science Behind Dogs Hearing Loud Music
Similar to humans, a dog's hearing structure begins with sound waves that cause the eardrums to vibrate, which is then transmitted as movement of the teensy weensy bones in the middle of the ear. At this point, vibrations are sent to the cochlea - or the fluid-filled part of the inner ear.
At the same time, there are more than 16,000 little hair cells that move around when a dog hears loud music. If treated right, these hair cells can last a lifetime. However, prolonged loud music, gunshots, explosions, fire engine sirens, ambulances, and even loud power tools can damage these cells.
Humans can hear sounds between 20-20,000 Hz and dogs can hear noises twice as high, even up to 55,000 Hz. With this in mind, think twice about taking your dog to that outdoor concert or any other event where the noise could be unbearable.
Training Your Dog to Deal with Loud Music
You shouldn't have to train your dog to adjust to loud music that could damage their ears, however, there are a few things you can do to get your dog used to different noises. As mentioned above, try not to throw too much at your dog's ears by playing different sounds (like the radio and TV) at the same time. This will only confuse them even more and could lead to anxiety.
If possible, minimize the amount of loud, out-of-the-ordinary noises your dog is exposed to. We know you want to take them everywhere, but sometimes it's important to think about their well-being and how an environment will affect them. Furthermore, dogs don't always understand where sounds are coming from and why (such as enthusiastic sports fans yelling at the TV). Your dog just doesn't get it - and that's OK.
Be considerate of your dog's ears, and ease them into louder environments that could make them feel uncomfortable. If you've just brought home a rescue pup or new puppy, don't immediately fall into the habit of listening to your favorite rock album as loud as your system will go. Exposing your dog to different sounds and environments is important, but not if it is going to come at a cost.
By a Chihuahua lover Allie Wall
Published: 03/21/2018, edited: 04/06/2020