If you have trouble hearing, a new study is offering some good news: dogs can help.
People love dogs for many reasons, but the hearing impaired may have a special relationship. New work has shown that assistance dogs may be a game-changer for the hearing impaired.
Dogs explicitly trained to alert deaf people to everyday sounds offer a lot more than companionship; they can offer an added level of safety, comfort, and boost the overall quality of life.
These assistance dogs can alert their owners to every day sounds like doorbells, human voices, alarm clocks, and safety-related sounds like smoke and security alarms. They also offer companionship and emotional support.
The study conducted by British researchers measured various health measures between hard-of-hearing individuals who were waiting to receive an assistance dog and those who already had one.
Compared with those who were still waiting, people with assistance dogs had significantly better mental well-being, were more independent, and were less likely to experience anxious and depressive symptoms. There were also much less likely to feel fearful or isolated both at home and in public.
Researchers also discovered that people with hearing assistance dogs used fewer health and social care services.
Lost hearing can lead to many health problems, including depression, social isolation, and a greater risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia. It can also greatly diminish confidence and quality of life. Further, current treatments do little to help people with severe hearing loss.
This new study suggests that assistance dogs might be a game-changer for the hearing impaired.
If you’re losing hearing or have been struggling with hearing loss, speak to your doctor about the possibility of acquiring one of these service animals: it may change your life.