4 min read


Can Dogs Hear Ultrasonic Humidifiers?



4 min read


Can Dogs Hear Ultrasonic Humidifiers?


Humidifiers are wonderful devices that can make even the driest of households comfortable. If you are considering investing in one, chances are you've never thought about how they may affect your dog. Ultrasonic humidifiers are much quieter than the traditional device you are probably familiar with, and they also operate on a much higher frequency. The purpose of these household devices is to be silent, turning water droplets into mist using a high-frequency, vibrating metal diaphragm. But just because you can't hear it doesn't mean your dog can't.

The frequency of the device's sound waves will determine whether your dog can hear it or not, so be sure and check the specific machine you are looking at before bringing it home. If the frequency is too high, it could not only annoy your dog, but cause harm to their ears. 


Signs Your Dog Can Hear an Ultrasonic Humidifier

Dogs have very sensitive ears, which is both a blessing and a curse. Our four-legged friends can hear sounds that fall in the range of 40-60,000 Hz, compared to 20-20,000 Hz for humans. This means that while we can hear lower sounds than dogs, they can hear three times as high of sounds. Ultrasonic humidifiers can come in a wide range of frequencies, some of which reach frequencies up to 1.7 MHz. While this is well beyond both a human and dog's hearing ability, it may be annoying to your pup's ears. 

Based on what we've discussed thus far, it's safe to say that sounds are much louder to dogs than they are to humans. They can also hear sounds much clearer than we can, which explains why they run for the hills when you use the vacuum! 

This helps us understand why ultrasonic sounds are so irritating to dogs. If you are considering investing in an ultrasonic humidifier, it's a good idea to choose one that is on the lower spectrum as far as frequency goes. When you plug it in, pay attention to your dog's behavior and make note of how they are acting. If they don't seem to notice, you are in the clear, but if they are acting strange in any way or seem bothered, it could be hurting their ears. 

Body Language

Here are a few signs your dog can hear an ultrasonic humidifier:

  • Whining
  • Listening
  • Raise Ears
  • Whimpering
  • Ears Up

Other Signs

These are other signs your dog can hear an ultrasonic humidifier:

  • Behaving Differently Than Normal
  • Leaving The Room
  • Moving Their Ears Around, Trying To Find The Sound
  • Seeming Irritated Or Confused

History of Dogs Hearing Ultrasonic Humidifiers


A dog's sense of hearing comes in second behind their sense of smell, but they are both very important to their everyday livelihood. They can hear at a much higher frequency than we can, which is why they often pick up on noises before we ever see them. While this is undoubtedly a good thing and is what helps them navigate their environment, it can also be harmful. 

Dogs have evolved over thousands of years from their wolf ancestors. Some researchers believe they have actually lost some of the hearing ability through this evolutionary process, but it is still their second strongest sense. Wolves relied on their ability to hear high frequencies to survive in the wild and hunt for prey, which was integral to their well-being. 

Mice and rats, for one, communicate with one another through very high-pitched noises, which us humans cannot hear but dogs can. This is important to keep in mind when looking at how dogs respond to many of the technological devices found in our households today, such as ultrasonic humidifiers. 

Science Behind Dogs Hearing Ultrasonic Humidifiers


We've established that dogs have excellent hearing - far better than ours. Particularly high-pitched noises, like an ultrasonic humidifier, can be annoying to a dog and even hurt their ears. While there are some ultrasonic devices on the market today that are designed to make dogs stop barking, the jury is still out as to whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Encouraging dogs to stop barking by bombarding their sensitive, amazing ears with a high-pitched noise doesn't seem like the best option, if you ask us.

If you do decide to invest in an ultrasonic humidifier, it is important you separate your dog from it. Think of the humidifier as a dog whistle, if you will. Many dog whistles are out of the hearing range of humans, but are in that sweet spot for dogs. Most dogs can't hear whistles once they are about 15 to 20 feet from the sound, so the same can be said for ultrasonic humidifiers. If you can, put the humidifier in a room that your dog doesn't go in so you don't risk hurting their ears. 

Training Your Dog to Hear an Ultrasonic Humidifier


There is a great deal of controversy when it comes to dogs and ultrasonic sounds. Many training companies use ultrasonic sounds and whistles to train dogs and prevent them from barking, but there is debate as to whether or not these devices are safe for dogs. 

With this in mind, we encourage you to err on the side of caution when it comes to bringing an ultrasonic humidifier into your home. Your dog can't tell you when something hurts their ears or is bothersome to them, and the last thing you want is to be causing them harm without your knowledge. 

Always check the box of the ultrasonic humidifier before bringing it home. If it is on the high side, we suggest you look for another option. Although ultrasonic devices are used to steer dogs away from bad behaviors, it may not be safe. 

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Safety Tips for Using an Ultrasonic Humidifier Around Your Dog:

  1. Separate your dog and the device.
  2. Observe their behavior and make sure it isn't bothering them.

Written by a Chihuahua lover Allie Wall

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 06/11/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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