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Come again? Dog hearing aid is in the works

A University of Cincinnati researcher says the canine hearing aid he is developing may be ready for the market by the end of this year.

Pete Scheifele began working on a hearing aid for dogs after his own 17-year-old dog — a miniature pinscher/beagle mix — lost his hearing.

The highly trained dog has appeared on television and performed for schools and didn’t seem to mind wearing the prototype. In fact, he would seek it out and nudge it when he wasn’t wearing it, Scheifele says.

Researchers are now working on modifications to make the prototype version smaller and more comfortable, according to a report in DVM 360.

The hearing aid would only work on dogs with acquired hearing loss, according to Scheifele, Director of UC’s Bioacoustics and Canine Audiology Clinic.

Scheifele says he is in discussions for commercialization of the prototype and hopes it might be available for sale later this year.

(Photo: Courtesy of University of Cincinnati)

Comments

Comment from ruby gambers
Time September 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Hi…
My Dalmation mix just started to lose her hearing approx 6 months ago… she is now 12 years old… I would really like to try your hearing aid…

she has been trained with hand signals since a puppy…. so I am ahead of the game somewhat… but need to be in front of her to do this…

Comment from Patti Wimmer
Time November 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

My 14 year old Yorkie has just recently lost his hearing..Other than that the vet can hardly tell he’s more than 6-8 years old, he’s in such good shape. I sure hope this hearing aid becomes available…he’s confused by his silent world…

Comment from Brenda Hutto
Time January 31, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Could you e-mail me when this becomes available, My little yorkie Sam just turned 13 years old and just lost his hearing. I would do anything to help him get his hearing back.

Comment from Russ King
Time February 9, 2010 at 10:49 am

I have a SCHIPPERKEE(14yo) that has near blinding cataracts & has suddnly lost her hearing 2/10. I am afraid she will loose touch with everything.Please send an update on availability on your hearing aid. There is a too big a risk for the operation on her eyes in her condition.

Comment from Lesa Scheifele
Time March 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Dr. Pete Scheifele (in the picture with Sybil…a seeing eye dog being tested…) runs FETCH-LAB out of the University of Cincinnati. You can get his contact information by typing his name into the University site, or go right to the FETCH-LAB site at: http://fetchlab.org/. We are currently testing dogs and fitting a select few for custom aids (at the owners expense, though we keep costs down as much as possible). The biggest hurdle has been the dogs being willing to accept the aids and, equally, the humans involved being willing to put the time into training the dog over a period of months to get used to and appreciate the aid.

Comment from Danette Boskovich
Time April 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Hi, I would love to get a hearing aid for my Dazi, a 14 yr old cocker spaniel,she lost her hearing 2 yrs ago and has lost one eye to gluccoma last year and we are trying to save the other eye, other than that she still acts like a puppy,every so often I think she can hear certain pitches, a hearing aid would help my baby and me out. HOW CAN I GET ONE

Comment from Bob Joines
Time April 13, 2010 at 10:50 am

Our 15-year old toy poodle has started losing her hearing. She still hears loud or sharp sounds but not words. She was voice trained and is very confused by her hearing loss. She remains very healthy otherwise. We would be very interested in a hearing aid for her.

Comment from TINA HOLLY
Time April 25, 2010 at 11:40 am

Our almost 13 yr. old Lab “Lucy” was slowing loosing her hearing. After 2 surgeries, “dental cleaning” & Lp surgery she is almost DEAF. I have read about dogs loosing their hearing during surgery due to the positioning of their jaw and not getting blood flow to the right places.. She seems depressed & confused. Please hurry with this aid. How & when will we know this is ready on the market?

Comment from Alexis
Time August 21, 2010 at 1:24 pm

My Min Pin was exposed to a gunshot last week and has suffered total loss for conversational sound, I want to get her a hearing aid.

Comment from WOODIE SAFRIT
Time August 29, 2010 at 6:51 pm

I HAVE SIX CAVILEAR ,KING CHARLES SPANIELS 3 ARE HAVING HEARING PROBLEMS VARIOUS AGES. INTERESTED IN HEARING HELP MONEY IS NOT A CONSIDERATION . S.C. REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER. 8O3 222 1494

Comment from Fred & Family
Time December 26, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Please let me know the cost on a hearing aid? Do you known where they preform surguries in dog ears. We are concerned what adverse reaction can happen to a dog that is 6 years old and born deaf?

Comment from Lorrie
Time January 5, 2011 at 2:25 am

Hi..thank u so much for pursuing this endeavor! We would very much like to try it on our 12 yo lab who has so much language with his people! I rely heavily on language and sounds to communicate with our boy chance..he knows more language than any other dog vie ever had…it’s been sad to loose out on the sutblties of this with him these last months as he looks at us a little perplexed and vacant ..I find myself shouting the words and sounds and checking and double checking to see if he understands..with his orthopedic issues and general slowing down and deficiencies this would go a long way to keeping our puppy at heart lab as vibrant as possible. Thank u kindly…sooner the better!

Comment from Eunice Morgan
Time March 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I have a 15 year old Jack Russell terrier who is now very deaf. She stands around as if waiting for sound to come to her and this makes her look sad. I applaud you for working on this, and would like to know as soon as an aide becomes available. Do you know yet what the price is likely to be?

Comment from amber
Time March 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm

My dog is 14 months old and is deaf he has learned some hand signals but its really hard for him to understand some of them i was wondering if there was a surgery for my dog so he can hear for the first time it makes me sad that he cant hear i would get him hearing aids if it wasnt so expensive if anyone knows of the surgery let me know

Comment from william
Time August 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm

my dog cant hear, he is only 7 can any one send me some info, thanks

Comment from Dmitry
Time October 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm

my dog cant hear, he is 15 can any one send me some info, thanks

Comment from LANE MALLETTE
Time October 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm

When and where can we buy one.

Comment from Pat Duggan
Time November 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm

My 12 yr old Chiweenie has lost her hearing. I’d love to find something to help her. She seems so sad and sleeps all the time now.

Comment from Lori
Time November 29, 2011 at 2:39 am

I have a 13 year old cockapoo who is unilaterally deaf… Where can I buy one of these hearing aids for him? How much? I need on desperately. Will someone please point me in the right direction for help? Thank you.

Comment from jim nickel
Time December 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm

do they make external hearing aids that are in a neck collar for dogs in lieu of an implant?

Comment from denise saurman
Time March 4, 2012 at 10:05 pm

please let me know about the status of
hearing aids for dogs

Comment from unknown
Time May 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I have a poor doggie that needs a hearing aid bad. she is a value-able and irreplaceable member of out family. She has lost her hearing in one of her ears due to an ear infection and is soon to lose the other.I am hoping to find some hope that she may have a fighting chance to end her days like a normal dog, and not have to be put down due to bill payments or the illness making her completely deaf. She is very healthy and active aside from this, and we are blessed so much to still have her now. Please can anyone either send me the information on the doggie hearing aids,or give me and my family hope that she will be whole one more.

Comment from KAYE MEAD
Time May 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

HOW CAN I REACH YOU? IS THERE ANY PLACE CLOSE TO ME? WINGO IS A MIXED POODLE/ SHIH TZU, 14 YEARS OLD. PLEASE CONTACT ME. 386 676 7722

Comment from Jan Schmidt
Time June 13, 2012 at 9:16 am

My dog is 17, in great shape except has continuously lost his hearing. Now only picks up loud noises. And is now nearly completely blind from cataracts. He still loves life and if he could hear our voices, it would make life so much easier. Please send me an email if there is a way to try one.

Comment from martin
Time August 21, 2012 at 1:39 am

Has anyone been successfull getting a hearing device for there dog.I adopteda 7 year old neglected pug.Only 20% vision and deaf.He is now a ball of happiness but would love to get his hearing fixed.Even one ear.

Comment from Bret stclair
Time November 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm

My dog a golden at age age 14 yrs need a response if u sell a device for hearing

Comment from Rita
Time December 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Our 14 yr. old Schnauzer/Cocker has been loosing her hearing for about 6 mos. and I now have to go tap her when I need her attention. Please let me know more about your hearing device. She missing so much around her now!

Comment from chris
Time January 16, 2013 at 3:29 am

is this possible? & what is the cost? please mail me info

Comment from Jonnie
Time January 31, 2014 at 7:45 am

My 14 year old Jack Russell Has diminished hearing. He works with hand signals and sometimes hears very loud noise. Please email me when a device is ready.

Comment from Michele Marshall
Time April 13, 2014 at 1:02 am

I need help for my chihuahua, over the last 2yrs she has lost about all her hearing. She can still hear keys and high pitches. She is a rescue and about 14 yrs old. I would appreciate any help for her. Please help , I know she had a bad life before I recused her 3 yrs ago! I really Love her!

Comment from Molly G
Time December 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm

My 12 year old lab is my best little friend and I think she is losing her hearing. She does not wake when I walk in, and sometimes she jumps because she doesn’t hear me coming into a room to pet her. I am so very interested in your device. Please contact me if you could! I love her so much!

Comment from Paul C
Time January 15, 2015 at 5:16 pm

I have a 14 yo male Maltese who loss his sight due to cataracts, however he recently had the cataracts removed with replacement implants that has restored his sight ,now I am looking for possibly a collar attached amplifier to improved his hearing deficit for I feel he would not tolerate a device in the ear canal. Accordingly he has a loud high pitched bark to compensate for the hearng loss which is becoming quite
disturbing. Any advice out there. Thanx

Comment from Judy
Time July 26, 2015 at 2:46 am

My 9 year old cavalier king charles spaniel Zack has acquired hearing loss. It happened in February of this year, 6 months ago. On January 31, without discussing it with me and not in my presence, with no symptoms and no history of any ear problems, a vet who was treating Zack for a respiratory infection which had apparently resolved said he was taking him in the back for a chest X-ray, and when he came out, he did not say anything about any ear problem, but when i got home i found that Zack had thick goop oozing out of both ears. Zack and i went out of town the next day, a one hour plane ride to our destination (he rides with me on the plane as my emotional support animal).

At my daughter’s home we were both troubled by all the goopy mess in his ears, it was matting his ear fur. i called the vet office and asked what it was. They looked at his chart and said BKT, which i learned on Google, contains the antibiotic enrofloxacin. I asked why he was given that. I was told there was no indication in the chart of the reason why. They didn’t know. They said if i would bring him in, they would wash the medication out.

At that point, i didn’t realize there was any risk to the medication or any urgency to get it out. I waited until i got back in town. During the week we were out of town, i didn’t notice any change in his hearing. He always was a dog who, if he was sleeping and you got up to go to another room, even if i tried to be quiet and not disturb him, he would jump and follow me.

I paid a few hundred dollars when he was a little over a year old for someone to come to my house and train him in 5 sessions to obey a few commands. The most important one was “Zack Come!” because Zack had a tendency to slip out the door and go joyfully running off down the street as fast as he could go with me running after him, shouting his name without any effect. Being very friendly, he would approach the first people he encountered and they would hold him until i caught up, but it was scary, he has no awareness of cars and he has a strong wanderlust, so i paid a gifted trainer to teach him commands, and 8 years later, he consistently immediately obeyed “Zack–Come!” If he slipped out the front door and went running down the street, i would come out after him and he would be at least two houses away but i would shout, Zack–Come! and he would stop in his tracks and come running back to me, big smile on his face. That was worth its weight in gold.

There was an incident in the week i was out of town when i accidentally forgot to attach his leash when i was walking both him and my daughter’s dog together and realized he was out in the street, fortunately not a busy street, but pretty far away, and i yelled, Zack–Come! and he came right back.

But by the time i got home, a week after the goop was plunged into his ears, i was seeing alarming signs of dramatic hearing loss. He still has some hearing but dramatically less than before. I can speak loudly to him from a few feet away when he’s sleeping and he doesn’t wake up, until i yell loud enough. He never wakes up when i just get out of my somewhat noisy reclining chair. He never hears the door bell. He used to go nuts when the door bell rang, including on the TV. Not anymore.

Worst of all, he slipped out the front door one day when my new neighbor came over to introduce himself and i opened the screen door to see his face, and out Zack went, i ran out and yelled Zack-come! and he just kept running. I realized, he didn’t hear me. In seconds, he rounded the corner and was out of sight, happy as a lark. My neighbor ran after him and then came back carrying him, he said Zack stopped to pee and he was able to walk over and pick him up.

But at that point, i realized how much I had lost when that vet put that poison in his ears, not for any apparent justifiable reason, without discussing the potential risks with me, and without even telling me he had done it. When i took him in to see a different vet in that same practice but who is also holistic and more cautious about medications and X-rays and things, she said that medication can cause temporary hearing loss.

It’s been 6 months and the hearing is as poor as it was 6 months ago. It seems better sometimes than others. I just read today while googling this that cochlear damage effects can fluctuate. I was interested in a cochlear implant for Zack.

As far as paying for a hearing device, Zack has health insurance, it’s the kind where i pay up front and they reimburse me, with only a $100 deductible. As far as the training goes, my thinking is that i would get some assistance from the same guy who taught Zack the commands in just a few days 8 years ago. I believe he would like to have the experience and would help me with the training. He’s a gifted trainer.

i know that the posts on this discussion are three to five years old by now, but i am hoping it’s still an important developing medical technology for dogs. I wish i didn’t have to yell for Zack to hear me. I used to tell him softly that i love him, and i feel sad that he can’t hear that. Most of all, i hope there’s a way that he can be able to hear the Come command again because it’s a major safety concern for me. thanks for listening if anyone is reading.

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