Dog Hearing: How Well Do Dogs Hear?

Dogs have excellent hearing. At least that’s what they say. But how much better does the dog hear compared to humans?

This question is not easy to answer. Of course, we can compare readings and sensitivity to frequencies. We will also deal with the structure of the dog’s hearing.

However, dog hearing has two distinctive features. And therefore a comparison with human hearing is not easy.

How much better can dogs hear?

You may have noticed that your four-legged friend is already restless or reports before you even hear anything.

Dogs have different senses to find their way in life. However, the senses are weighted differently than in humans.

While the sense of sight is of the utmost importance for us humans, it is of secondary importance for dogs. For him, his nose and hearing are much more important for everyday life.

First, let’s start with the basics of dog hearing.

Dog ears are constructed like human ears

At first glance, dog ears are very different. So there are hanging or standing ears, big or small ears. Each breed has its specific ear shape.

Anatomically, however, all dog ears are the same. The dog ear has three parts, just like the human ear:

  1. Outer ear
    The pinna and ear canal are part of the outer ear.
  2. Middle ear
    The middle ear consists of several small bones and the eardrum.
  3. Inner ear
    The inner ear contains the cochlea and the vestibular system.

How does dog hearing work?

Sounds travel through the auditory canal to the eardrum, a membrane. It picks up the sound waves and transmits them to the middle ear.

This is where the hammer, anvil, and stirrup are located, small bones that amplify the sounds and pass them on to the inner ear.

The cochlea and balance organ are filled with fluid. They transmit the vibrations they now receive to the brain via the auditory nerve.

The hearing range of dogs

This makes it clear that a dog can hear in the same way as a human. Hearing and processing a sound works the same for both living beings.

Nevertheless, there are big differences. Dogs hear frequencies that we cannot perceive at all.

Just think of a dog whistle. It is not recognizable to us. However, dogs react to this because they can hear the extremely high-pitched sounds.

Dogs hear the frequency range from 15 to 50,000 hertz (50 kilohertz). Whereas humans can only hear frequencies between about 20 and 20,000 Hertz.

The Hertz unit indicates the number of oscillations per second. The audible frequency range decreases with age.

Human speech ranges from 150 to 5,000 hertz. Dog whistles produce tones in the frequency range of 16 to 22 kilohertz.

Selective listening

Another big difference is the dog’s ability to hear selectively.

This means that dogs can filter out the important noises from a large number of noises. Just hide the rest…

No matter how loud it can be in the area around some dogs, they always hear the clattering of the food bowls.

Why is the dog turning its ears?

But there is another important difference between a dog and human ears.

To be able to locate sounds better in space, dogs can move both ears independently of each other.

You can observe this particularly well in animals with erect ears.

But it works just as well for floppy ears. 17 different muscles are responsible for these movements. This special ability is essential when hunting.

It is important for us humans because it allows the dog to hear and locate us, even if it cannot see us at all.

At first glance, you might think that dogs hear better than humans. However, they don’t do that. They simply hear differently than we do.

We should think about this in everyday life with our four-legged friends.

How much louder do dogs hear than humans?

Because of their ability to hear sounds outside of our frequency range, dogs are more likely to be startled or distracted.

Dogs are sensitive to noise but also sensitive to noise. Loud noises are perceived as unpleasant much earlier. This causes stress in the dog.

You should pay attention to this when dealing with your dog and avoid noise at all costs.

Ultrasound for dogs

Ultrasound devices used against dogs exploit this connection. Such devices are sold as repellers or dog scarers.

One can argue about the usefulness. These devices produce a loud sound, beyond the human hearing limit of 20 kHz.

The sound cannot be heard by humans. Dogs perceive the sound without any problems. And the high noise level is extremely uncomfortable for them. You can think of it as standing next to an airplane taking off.

Change the pitch of your voice

The dog can tell from our pitch how we are doing. This is also the reason why they respond to our moods. The dog also notices very well when we are happy, but of course also when we are angry with him.

If the dog doesn’t immediately listen to a command, shouting at it is not the method of choice. Then just try it with a different voice.

Simply call your animal a little friendlier so that it likes to come to you.

Dog hearing can decrease with age

As your dog gets older and doesn’t start following commands immediately, remember that dog hearing can also deteriorate. Maybe your dog just can’t hear you as well.

So if you combine audio and visual signals in good time, then this is not a problem even for seniors. If one sense decreases, the other senses are simply used more intensively.

Dog ear care

Dog ears do not require much care. Normally, the ears clean themselves.

However, you should always check the outer ears with a quick look. This allows you to recognize diseases or parasite infestations in good time.

Occasionally it may also be necessary to clean the ear a little. However, please never use cotton swabs for this, not even cotton swabs for babies.

It is sufficient if you clean the outer parts of the ear with a damp cloth. Normally, this is enough care for ear health.

Frequently Asked Questions

How good is the dog hearing?

Comparison of human and dog hearing

But the situation is completely different with the high tones: here they are far superior to us. Dogs hear 100 million times better than we do. What an impressive number, right? When young, humans can hear sounds with up to 30,000 vibrations per second.

How hard do dogs hear?

Compared to humans, dogs hear sounds that are around twice as high at up to 45 kHz. Humans, on the other hand, can also perceive lower tones between 20 and 67 Hz. However, the audible frequency varies relatively greatly between the respective breeds.

Do dogs have sensitive ears?

Some animals are also very sensitive to pain when their ears are touched. There is an increased risk of developing an ear problem in dogs with anatomical peculiarities such as narrow, narrow ear canals, heavy lop ears, extremely strong hair growth, or increased gland secretion in the ear.

What annoys dogs?

We humans don’t like the noise either – but dogs are even more sensitive than we are. That’s why it’s important to adjust the volume level to your dog’s needs. Loud music, screaming children, or construction site noise can have a major impact on your dog and stress it out.

What sounds do dogs dislike?

Vacuum cleaners and hair dryers are common objects that are nothing more than infernal machines to the dog! The noise emanating from both devices is unexpected, so the dog suddenly has to contend with an unbeatable enemy.

What sounds scare dogs?

Fear of loud noises is common in dogs, and many owners report that their dogs show signs of anxiety as a result of loud noises – like fireworks and thunderstorms. Some dogs show clear signs of fear when they hear loud noises: And run away from the noise.

What scares dogs away?

Simple, easy to use, and noisy, empty bags made of crackling plastic are ideal for scaring dogs. To use them, they are grasped by the handles and thrown abruptly from top to bottom. This way the air gets caught in it and it makes a kind of bang.

Is TV harmful to dogs?

Studies have shown that dogs process images shown on television. But: Most programs have nothing to offer dogs. So your dog can recognize pictures on the TV but only reacts to certain stimuli, such as when other animals can be seen.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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