Hearing Dogs: dogs for the deaf

by Nikol P on March 15, 2012

in Easter Seals Crossroads, INDATA News, Loan Library, Products and Devices, Services

Photo Credit to George

Image Credit to George

Man’s best friend has been known to help those with no sight see and now they can even give the deaf a set of ears, metaphorically speaking of course. Through training and practice, Hearing Dogs guide their user through touch to the source of sound. By providing companionship and an extra level of alertness in sound, they can enhance parenting skills, increase employability and provide a sense of freedom and independence the user may not have had before.

Hearing Dogs do a great service for those who are deaf out in public. For instance, the dogs help their users become more aware of their surroundings by guiding them away from traffic or generally causing the user to pay attention to whatever alerts the dog. Whatever the dog notices, so in turn, does the user. Similar to a guide dog, hearing dogs help the user gain a sense of their environment and gain a better sense of the happenings around them.

No longer are the feelings of isolation so intense with a hearing dog. Able to get out in the world, exploring and living with the help of their hearing dog, people who are deaf are no longer dependent on others and can begin to gain a sense of self-reliance and friendship through their experience with their dog.

Dogs can be trained to do more than alert their owners when they hear obscure noises, many serve individuals who have Autism, suffer from seizures, are in need of emotional support or simply need a companion. One organization, Midwest Assistance Dogs, seeks to match alert and intelligent dogs with people who need them. Generally marked by a vest or some other form of identification, these dogs are granted access to the public and essentially behave like a person, minus the four legs and fur.

In order to obtain a dog a process must be followed in order to apply. In order to apply, you have to submit a $25 application fee and download an application form from their website. The form must be submitted with appropriate documentation of the condition. After the application and documentation are submitted, an interview is conducted where your needs are addressed.

After it has been determined that acquiring a dog is the best course of action, the training process begins. Both the user and the dog go through the process and come together in the final phase of training to become a team.

For more information about hearing dogs or companion dogs in general, be sure to check out this website as well!

Also, check out one little boy’s unique wake-up call.

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