Sirens. Smoke alarms. Burglar alarms. People calling one's name. We all need tools to help us handle life, and having a hearing dog when one can't hear can make all the difference.
Not being able to hear, or hear well, can be isolating. Not only can hearing dogs do tasks such as alerting to sirens, notifying of smoke alarms going off, or informing their handler of other sounds that can be lifesaving, the dogs can serve as a "social bridge" to help people with deafness relate to others in their community.
The journal, "Deaf Studies and Deaf Education" did a study called "Hearing Dogs: A Longitudinal Study of Social and Psychological Effects on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Recipients", by Claire M. Guest, along with Glyn M. Collis and June McNicholas, found that the handlers not only showed a large reduction in hearing-related problems, but also had a:
- Decrease in tension, anxiety, and depression
- Increase in social involvement and independence
A study on Effects of assistance dogs on persons with mobility or hearing impairments by Diana H. Rintala, PhD; Rebeca Matamoros, BS; and Laura L. Seitz; found that:
- Having a Hearing Service dog reduced their dependency on other people
- A service dog for a deaf person reduced the hours of paid assistance needed
- Concluded that hearing assistance dogs have a major positive impact on their handlers.
77% of people with hearing service dog reported that "It is easier to leave my home with my service dog", and hearing service dogs were found to help:
- Health and safety
- Improved relaxation, had better health, and increased safety
- Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as chores, self-care, and mobility in the home and community
The study concluded that getting a hearing service dog would help a person who is deaf "(1) be healthier, (2) be more physically independent, (3) function better, (4) be more mobile, (5) participate more in productive activities, and (6) be more satisfied with life."
While people with disabilities cannot work, many people with deafness do have jobs and do their jobs well--and a Hearing Service Dog can be taken to work and has been found to help both employee and their employer. While there are challenges to bringing a hearing service dog to work, in "An Exploratory Study of the Elements of Successful Service Dog Partnerships in the Workplace" by Margaret K. Glenn concluded that the many benefits to having a Hearing Service Dog outweigh any potential barriers.