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Published: Oct 25, 2011

Puppies come with a lot of responsibilities. Owners will have to ensure they are properly vaccinated, set them on a proper routine and teach them commands that will help them throughout their lives. However, some dogs are born deaf, which can be a roadblock in the training process.

According to, common signs that a dog may have hearing loss include excessive sleeping, going in the wrong direction when called, not responding to commands, shaking its head or pawing at its ears more than normal. Hearing loss or deafness may result from genetic defects (most commonly associated with white pigment), ear infection, injury to the ear or old age. Exposure to very loud noises and certain medications may also cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.

If you are concerned about your dog’s hearing, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Your vet may perform an ear exam with an otoscope to rule out infections or diseases in the ear. He or she may also recommend a Brainstorm Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) test which calls for the dog to be in a quiet room with headphones on. The headphones send clicking sounds to the dog and its brain’s response is tested to confirm deafness. This test is not widely available and your vet may refer you to another facility or a specialist for this evaluation.

The ASPCA reports that deaf dogs can lead normal, healthy lives with proper training. Many learn to understand hand signals or other means of communication and lead very full lives.