Deafness is the temporary or permanent loss– either partial or total –of hearing in one or both ears. Hearing loss is a natural part of a pet’s aging process, and it will take time getting used to for both the pet and for you. The condition isn’t the end of the world; it just takes a little adjustment getting used to.
There are many different causes of deafness, some that can be fixed and others that are irreversible. Hearing loss could be brought on by a build-up of wax in the ear canals – which is common with breeds that have naturally narrow ear canals, like Poodles. Or, if your pooch is especially hairy, that hair could be the culprit for blocking ear canals because it collects wax and acts as a plug of sorts. If you have a Cocker Spaniel, Terrier, or another breed with a mess of hair, be sure to watch that it’s not causing hearing problems. Foreign objects getting stuck in the ear canal can also cause hearing loss in your furry friend.
Old age, injury, or untreated ear infections are some of the permanent causes of hearing loss. Drugs such as antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and heavy metals – like arsenic, lead, and mercury – all can cause hearing loss as well.
Though it’s generally perceived as a condition that afflicts senior pets, it’s also possible for a dog to be born without the ability to hear. Certain dog breeds are predisposed to inherited deafness, such as the Dalmatian. Persians, Ragdolls, and white Oriental Shorthairs are some of the cat breeds that are also at a higher risk for congenital deafness.