Hearing Dogs

Trained to alert people to sounds at home and provide greater environmental awareness in public for everyday safety and independence.

Apply

Vincent & Otto – How Otto helped Vincent regain his confidence and awareness

What is a Hearing Dog?

Hearing Dogs at home.
Our Hearing Dogs are trained to alert people to household sounds that are necessary for everyday safety and independence. They are trained to make physical contact and lead their person to the source of the sound. Through sound awareness and companionship, these dogs provide greatly increased freedom.

Hearing Dogs in public.
Many people are curious about what Hearing Dogs can do for people who are deaf or hard of hearing when they’re in public. The most important thing a Hearing Dog provides a person in public is an increased awareness of his or her environment. A Hearing Dog isn’t specifically trained to alert to sounds, such as a siren or honking horn, in public. But, when a person who is deaf or hard of hearing takes a Hearing Dog into public, he or she will gain an awareness of the environment by paying attention to whatever the Hearing Dog is reacting to. When the dog hears something and looks, the person will notice and turn to see what’s happening as well.

Hearing Dog Capabilities

  • Provides sound awareness at home, such as the smoke alarm, door knock, doorbell, phone, alarm clock, oven timer, name call, and a baby cry
  • Provides increased awareness when out in public, such as a siren, honking horn, name call
  • Helps ease anxiety sometimes experienced in social situations
  • Companionship
  • Reduces feeling of isolation often faced by people with hearing loss

Apply For A Dog

Before you decide to apply for a Hearing Assistance Dog, please read about our Application ProcessApplication Requirements, and Points to Consider.

Our Process

Prescreening

Click on the Get Started button above to fill out a pre-screening questionnaire. Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will be emailed a link to the application to fill out. Those who do not meet the requirements will be informed why and may resubmit the pre-screening after addressing the requirement(s).

Application

If you meet the requirements in the pre-screening questionnaire, you will receive, via email, a link to complete the application. If you believe you qualify for one of our professionally trained dogs and did not receive an application, please email info@dogsforbetterlives.org or call 541-826-9220.

Screening

All applicants for Hearing Dogs must send in a copy of their medically based audiogram reflecting current level of hearing loss. This will be reviewed by the Application Screening Committee. This panel is made up of Audiologists and professionals who work with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Due to the fact that there are many different aspects to hearing loss, there is no exact degree of loss that can be given as the minimum for qualification.

In-Home Interview

In-home interviews provide us with additional information on the applicants’ needs and lifestyles. A Dogs for Better Lives associate conducts this interview; all members of the household must be present for this interview appointment.

Acceptance or Denial

After the interview is completed and returned to us, the entire application packet will be carefully reviewed and a final decision made as to whether or not one of our professionally trained dogs is suitable for the applicant.

Waiting Period

Dogs are matched with individuals based on the temperament of the dog and the lifestyle, personality, activity level, health, and environment of the person. We do not place dogs based on personal preference.

The waiting period for a Hearing Dog is approximately 12 months from the time the person is accepted to receive a Hearing Dog.

Placement

Hearing Dogs are accompanied by a trainer to the home of the client. The trainer teaches the client how to keep the dog working consistently and how to maintain the dog’s obedience training.

Follow-Up

Following the placement, regular communication is required. The client reports regularly on the progress of the dog. When problems arise or the client has any questions, the trainer offers help and answers questions. In-home follow up is also done.

Dogs for Better Lives provides follow-up support for the life of the team.