Seeing-eye dogs guiding blind people are nothing unusual. Hearing dogs, on the other hand, are not as common. In Switzerland, people with hearing loss can now train their dogs to become hearing dogs.
A hearing dog helps people with hearing loss.
Help at home, at work and in the outdoors
The dog is trained to perform a number of tasks to help the hearing impaired person at home, at work and in the outdoors.
The dog learns to react to a variety of daily noises, such as a phone ringing, a person trying to get your attention or an approaching car. At each familiar noise the dog sits down in front of its owner and makes the appropriate sign. The dog then leads the owner to where the signal came from.
The hearing dog makes the hearing impaired owner less reliant on the assistance from other people.
The hearing dog association of Reinach developed the Swiss hearing dog training concept. The training requiring the participation of the hearing impaired dog owner, as well as the dog, receives the support of the Swiss association of people with hearing loss, „pro audito schweiz“.
Dogs and owners are placed in groups during training. One group holds a maximum of four people who receive instruction with their own dogs.
The training takes two years.