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How much do you know about man’s best friend and their exceptional hearing?

This week, we’re moving away from thinking about our hearing to learn about the hearing of dogs. We’ve discussed so many times how amazing our ability of hearing is, but a dogs hearing is even more amazing than ours.

Dogs are known for having heightened senses; they have exemplary vision, a great sense of smell and remarkable hearing. Domestic dogs can pinpoint tiny sounds from really far away making them much better at hearing than we are. This means they can be trained to help people with sight or hearing impairments.

Dogs can hear a far wider range of sound frequencies than we can; they can not only hear better than us, but can also hear more sounds than we ever could. You’ve probably seen the whistles that are often used in dog training, they’re known as “silent whistles”. Only dogs can hear them. Dogs have access to a soundscape that humans are unable to hear. Dogs can hear lower sounds much the same we can. Generally, we can hear higher ranges of sounds up to around 23000 Hz but dogs can hear up to 45000 Hz. Amazingly, even when they’re asleep, dogs can pick up and respond to sounds that we would never hear.

A dogs sound response reflex is much faster than ours; this is because their ears can move independently. A dog can locate, isolate and react to a sound in less than one tenth of a second. They can hear sounds from much further away than we can; something you could hear from 20 yards away, the dog would be able to hear from 200 yards away. The reason the dog can do this is thanks to it’s independently moving ears.

Dogs ears are absolutely amazing; it takes 18 specialised muscles to lift, lower, turn, twist and to tilt them. These muscles don’t just move the ears, they also aid the dog’s powers of hearing. In the middle of the ear, there is a web of unique muscle fibres. These fibres contract and relax quickly responding to tiny fluctuations in vibration helping the dog to hear the sound.

If you are a dog owner, you will know that you see your dogs ears twitching and moving a minute before a visitor arrives at your door. This amazing super-sensitive hearing is what makes dogs so helpful to anyone with a sight or hearing disability. And, of course, such lovely little guardians of our houses!

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