World Hearing Day is observed annually on 3 March and it serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about hearing loss and the importance of early intervention. While this day is primarily focused on human hearing health, it is equally important to recognize that our beloved pets’ delicate ears are also susceptible to problems which, if left untreated, can result in hearing loss.
Pets can suffer from a variety of ear problems, such as serious ear infections, inherited deafness, foreign bodies or trauma. While ear problems are common in both cats and dogs, some breeds are particularly prone to ear infections due to their heavy, hairy flapped ears, their head shape, or the amount of hair inside their ears. Therefore, it is essential for pet owners to keep a close eye on their pets’ ears and take preventative measures to ensure their furry friends don’t suffer from hearing loss.
There are certain signs that indicate that your pet is experiencing ear troubles. If your pet is frequently shaking, scratching or rubbing its head, suffering from red, swollen and itchy ears, or has a buildup of wax, pus or other such problems, it is important to seek timely veterinary treatment to prevent hearing loss.
If caught in time, most ear infections can be easily treated by a vet. However, chronic ear infections can cause long-term problems and may result in surgery in extreme cases, which can lead to permanent hearing loss. Pets can also naturally experience hearing loss with age, but there are several ways to support them as they grow older and their needs change.
Deaf pets require special care and attention. For example, these pets won’t hear a person’s approaching footsteps, so it is necessary to take special care not to startle or scare them. Always warn friends and family that your pet can’t hear and advise them to approach your pet from the front so that your pet can see them coming. Additionally, deaf pets can feel vulnerable as they cannot rely on all of their senses. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your pet is given the opportunity to approach you and visitors first, rather than the other way around. It is also important to never startle them or disturb them when they are sleeping, as this can make them feel anxious and prevent them from relaxing fully.
When leaving the house, make sure your pet can see you leaving whenever possible, so that they do not panic when they can’t find you. Without verbal cues, it can be challenging to get your pet’s attention, but training techniques such as hand signals can help build visual communication. These changes may take some time to adapt to, but they help strengthen the bond between you and your pet.
As the UK’s largest vet charity, PDSA is committed to improving pet welfare through prevention, education, and treatment. Support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery helps them reach more pet owners with essential advice and information.
In conclusion, World Hearing Day is a reminder to pet owners to keep an eye on their pets’ ear health and take timely action if necessary. With the right care and attention, pets can continue to live happy and healthy lives, even if they experience hearing loss.