As all dog lovers know, your canine companions have an incredible sense of hearing. Although all canines have these amazing sense abilities, it is actually the structure of a pup’s ears themselves that harness such sensitivity to sound. We, as humans, would require a powerful hearing aid to even come close to a dog’s audible abilities, whether it’s a small dog or big dog, yet we can learn much about their behavior by understanding their sensitivity to sound.
A dog’s ears are the window to their soul.
Often, the shape of the canine’s ear will convey their emotional well-being. Structurally, it contains four main components: the ear flap, the external ear canal, the middle ear, and the internal, or inner, ear. Amazingly, a pup’s ears work independently of each other, and their emotions are visible by watching the ears’ movements. Every emotion is dictated by their hearing abilities, even in the youngest, small size puppy.
No matter the breed, a dog’s heightened auditory abilities comes from over a dozen muscles that control the ears’ movements, and the many blood vessels and nerves in the auditory area. While humans with hearing loss may require a pair of hearing aids for even a fraction of a dog’s ability of the highest hearing performance, a canine’s biological makeup provides all the hearing needs for a remarkable amount of situational awareness.
The Structure of Dog Ears vs. Humans’ Ears
As humans our ear structure is relatively basic: the outer ear functions to “collect” sound waves and lead them to tympanic membrane, while the middle ear is merely a narrow cavity in the temporal bone. In dogs, the pinna of their external ear is a funnel-like plate of cartilage that collects the vibrations of the air itself, sending that minuscule connection to the ear canal and eardrum. The dog’s ear canal is significantly longer than that of a human’s, and that length makes it possible for a canine to hear more sounds with a better sound quality. Within the middle ear, three small bones transmit the air vibrations from the eardrum, like that of a human, but in a much more nuanced and heightened way. In a noisy environment, a pooch’s hearing can pick up even the smallest natural sound.
A pooch’s supreme hearing is due to a higher frequency level. For example, the higher the frequency, the more sound waves per second, thus the higher-pitched the sound. The human ear peaks at its best ability around the 2,000 Hertz range, even with the assistance of something as advanced as a durable Signia hearing aid or the simplicity of the iPhone Signia app. Dogs, however, hear best at 8,000 Hz, which is why they can hear higher pitches than we can.
Dogs and the World Around Them
Dog owners can merely take their pet in a dog harness and go for a walk somewhere with a high level of ambient noise to witness their great abilities. Strap a comfy “no-pull harness” around the dog’s chest for a snug fit, ensuring there’s no discomfort, and grab a leash. Then let them lead the way! Be sure you carefully pick the best harness with with the best fit and adjustable straps for better control. Then watch the dog’s head work like nature’s own directional microphone and watch their natural hearing experience prove that nothing can beat a pup’s ears.
According to any dog trainer, daily walks are also a great idea for all dog breeds, not just for exercise, but to develop your dog’s comfort level outdoors. Be sure to buckle and adjust the vest or harness properly to the dog’s body and be sure the leash attaches to the dog’s back (although a front-clip harness or no pull dog harness would be ideal), then keep a careful eye on the ear movements as the pooch comes to full attention. Anything as a simple as a phone call dozens of feet away, TV audio from a nearby home, or chatter from a busy restaurant may captivate a dog’s audible sensitivity. If you suffer from hearing loss, each small motion from your dog’s superior sound quality, behavior, and clearer level of hearing can provide better safety and awareness, especially on a crowded street.
Humans may need the exceptional sound quality of good hearing aids with manual adjustments, bluetooth, directional microphones, and various accessories to mirror a canine’s natural ability. But with a frequency range that broad, a dog’s high level of hearing and superior sound is based on the pure simplicity of their natural listening experience.